As mandated by Chapter 36 of the Texas Water Code (Sec. 36.108), Groundwater Management Area-12 (GMA-12) conducts joint groundwater planning and management review in rolling five-year periods, by and for five groundwater conservation districts that lie over the central portion of the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer. The Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District and the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District are included in GMA-12.
The purpose, in addition to joint planning, management review and review of accomplishments of the member districts, is to jointly propose to adopt new or amend existing "desired future conditions" or "DFC". The current planning period ends after the GMA and the five districts have proposed new DFC for each formation in each aquifer for the next five years, and each district has conducted a 90-day public comment period* on those proposed DFC and a public hearing. DFC must be adopted no later than January 5, 2022.
[*GMA-12 adopted proposed DFC on March 18, 2021. Ordinarily, the clock would start ticking on the 90-day public comment period shortly thereafter; however, May 1 is the actual deadline for the GMAs to set their proposed DFC, so we will let folks know how the 90 days is to be computed.]
The central Carrizo-Wilcox is the sweet spot of the aquifer that includes the Carrizo Aquifer and the Wilcox Group ---the Calvert Bluff, Simsboro and Hooper formations. GMA-12 also plans for minor aquifers and river alluviums in the management area.
The central Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, especially the Simsboro formation has been targeted for over two decades as a source of water exports to support growth elsewhere. The Simsboro Aquifer Water Defense Fund was formed for just that reason --- to protect our local aquifers from being managed to depletion, or "mined". We define managed depletion as regulation and management that results in aquifers -- and the river systems that depend upon groundwater for their flows ---losing their resiliency to recover from pumping and becoming unsustainable for future generations. Mining aquifers affects the rural communities that lie over them first, and ultimately, the distant communities whose water supply also becomes impaired. Likewise, the loss of flows ultimately makes rivers "losing" instead of "gaining" streams.
Texas Water Code sets factors to be considered in setting DFC ~~ districts argue about whether there are any standards for how much weight they give any factor.
All of the factors to be considered under Sec. 36.108(d) are important. Of particular interest to landowners, are subsections (6) and (7), and of particular interest to our colleagues at Environmental Stewardship, is subsection (4) [highlighted below]:
Sec. 36.108. JOINT PLANNING IN MANAGEMENT AREA...(d) Not later than May 1, 2021, and every five years thereafter, the districts shall consider groundwater availability models and other data or information for the management area and shall propose for adoption desired future conditions for the relevant aquifers within the management area. Before voting on the proposed desired future conditions of the aquifers under Subsection (d-2), the districts shall consider:
(3) hydrological conditions, including for each aquifer in the management area the total estimated recoverable storage as provided by the executive administrator, and the average annual recharge, inflows, and discharge;
(4) other environmental impacts, including impacts on spring flow and other interactions between groundwater and surface water;
(5) the impact on subsidence;
(6) socioeconomic impacts reasonably expected to occur;
(7) the impact on the interests and rights in private property, including ownership and the rights of management area landowners and their lessees and assigns in groundwater as recognized under Section 36.002;
(8) the feasibility of achieving the desired future condition; and
(9) any other information relevant to the specific desired future conditions.
GMA-12 has proposed DFC that allow more and deeper mining of aquifers, for the benefit of big pumpers ~~~ and to the detriment of private wells and the Colorado River.....but GMA-12 has scheduled another (virtual) meeting, Tuesday morning, April 20
GMA-12 will hold a virtual hearing at 10 am on Tuesday, April 20th. Go here for how to join the meeting.
Review SAWDF's NEWS blog, here, regarding unreasonable impacts of the Vista Ridge Project in Burleson County on Lee and Burleson county domestic and livestock wells, and here for SAWDF's comments and slide presentation at the February 12, 2021, GMA-12 meeting.
We also highly recommend that you read the review of GMA-12's work by Environmental Stewardship, here.
Environmental Stewardship and SAWDF plan to be there to offer further input to the districts, hoping that they will reconsider the path they seem to be on ~~~ as ES Executive Director, Steve Box put it:
"From the discussion at the March 18 meeting ... it appears that if the proposed new DFC are adopted by the Districts, a precedent will be set that will require that all known permitted pumping must be added to the DFCs at every review. The impact will be to allow, at each review, deeper mining of the aquifers and render curtailment of future pumping improbable if not impossible, even if the pumping is causing damage to domestic and livestock wells or damage to rivers and streams within the Districts."
If you wish to speak on April 21, you have to notify the district by noon that day, see instructions at end of agenda. Basically, the district asks you to speak on a particular agenda item when that item comes up for discussion --- in the case of GMA-12/DFC, the agenda item is #9. General public comment not directly related to an agenda item is taken at the top of the meeting, under #3.