What are the District’s functions/jurisdictions?

The functions and jurisdictions of groundwater conservation districts are specified in Chapter 36 of the Texas Water Code.

How is the District Operated?

HPWD is governed by a five-member Board of Directors elected by residents in each of the District Director’s Precincts. Each director serves a four-year term where they oversee district operations, programs and activities. This includes developing a management plan; adoping and approving an annual budget; setting an annual tax rate to fund the budget; adopt or amend District rules; and approve applications for water well permits.

How is the District Funded?

When the District was created, people also voted to establish a maximum ad valorem tax rate of five cents per $100 valuation. The Board of Directors set the tax rate annually. Since 1982, the tax rate has been set at less than one cent per $100 valuation. The current tax rate is $.0067 per $100 valuation.

Why does the High Plains Water District require well permits and well spacing?

The HPWD's well spacing rules are designed to reduce the interference between wells when pumped. The rules provide that wells be spaced in accordance with their expected production; and as a part of this requirement, each landowner is required to apply for a permit prior to the drilling and production of any well expected to produce 17.5 gallons of water per minute or more. (Amended Jan. 14, 2009).

A permit must be applied for and approved by (1) the district manager or his designee and (2) the district's board of directors before the well drilling may legally begin. A non-refundable fee of $250.00 is required for each water well permit (Ogallala or Dockum well).

What is a desired future condition (DFC)? (TWDB)

A desired future condition is the desired, quantified condition of groundwater resources (such as water levels, spring flows, or volumes) within a management area at one or more specified future times as defined by participating GCDs and GMAs as part of the joint planning process.

What is required in the management plan?

Texas Water Code Chapter 36.1071(a)(1-8) requires groundwater conservation district management plans to address the following goals as applicable:

  • Providing the most efficient use of groundwater;
  • Controlling and preventing waste of groundwater;
  • Controlling and preventing subsidence;
  • Conjunctive surface water management issues;
  • Natural resource issues;
  • Drought conditions;

Conservation, recharge enhancement, rainwater harvesting, precipitation enhancement, or brush control, where appropriate and cost-effective, and;

Desired future conditions of the groundwater resources in a quantitative manner.

The revised plan will remain in effect until an amended plan is adopted/approved or July 19, 2016, whichever is earlier. The High Plains Water District Board of Directors will review/adopt the management plan at least every five years, as required by Texas Water Code Chapter 36.1072(e).

Who is the Texas Water Development Board?(TWDB)

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is the state level administration for groundwater and surface water planning and information across the state. TWDB provides water planning, data collection and dissemination, financial assistance, and technical assistance to residents across Texas.

What is a GCD or UWCD?(TWDB)

A GCD (groundwater conservation district) or UWCD (underground water conservation district) is a district created under the Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 52 or Article XVI, Section 59, that has the authority to regulate the spacing of water wells, the production from water wells, or both.

Who creates GCDs? (TWDB)

Groundwater conservation districts are either created by the Texas Legislature under and subject to the authority, conditions and restrictions of Article XVI, Section 59 of the Texas Constitution, or by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality through a local petition process (Texas Water Code §36.011).

How many GCDs exist in Texas?

Currently there are 100 GCDs in Texas.

Who is the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts?

The Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts (TAGD), formerly the Texas Groundwater Conservation Districts Association, was formed on May 12, 1988. Its membership consists of underground water conservation districts of Texas with the powers and duties to manage groundwater as defined in Chapter 36 of the Texas Water Code (voting members) and other organizations that work in the groundwater arena (associate members). TAGD is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, or scientific purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

What do water planning groups do?

Regional Water Planning Groups create regional water plans across the state. Each water planning group sends in a regional water plan, which then becomes part of The State Water Plan. Planning groups are made up of 20 members who represent industry, municipalities, agriculture, environment, public, business, water districts, river authorities, water utilities, counties, groundwater management areas and power generation.

What is the purpose of a GMA?

As a result of House Bill 1763, passed during the 79th regular Texas Legislative Session (2005), groundwater conservation districts are now required to conduct joint planning within their respective groundwater planning area. The primary goal of this planning is to define the desired future conditions of groundwater resources within their GMA.

What is the planning process?

Districts can consider establishing different future conditions for each aquifer, subdivision of an aquifer or geologic strata, and each geographic area overlying an aquifer within a groundwater management area.

Once it is determined, the groundwater conservation districts are required to submit their desired future conditions statements to the Executive Administrator of the Texas Water Development Board in Austin. The TWDB will then provide each district and regional water planning group in the respective GMA with the values of managed available groundwater based upon the desired future conditions.

Districts are required to report the managed available groundwater in their groundwater management plans and ensure that the plans contain goals and objectives consistent with achieving the desired future conditions. Regional water planning groups are required to use the managed available groundwater numbers in their regional water plans.