Inspect Domestic Wells To Avoid Groundwater Contamination

August is National Water Quality month!  High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) reminds area residents that regular inspection of domestic water wells can help preserve groundwater quality.

 “We encourage domestic well owners to check their site for any openings that would allow contaminants to adversely impact groundwater quality in that individual well,” said HPWD Manager Jason Coleman, P.E.

 He said well surface seals should be in good condition. If your well has a concrete slab, be sure to check for any large cracks or openings that can allow potential contaminants to enter the well.

 Some wells have steel or PVC sleeves around the casing. Like a slab, this provides a proper seal between the bore hole and casing. Be sure that the sleeve fits properly and is not damaged.

 Well plates should fit securely on top of the casing. There should also be a proper fit where any electrical wiring enters the well plate. This helps ensure that no debris or other contaminants fall into the well. During winter, some wells may be wrapped with insulation. Mice and other vermin may nest in it and contaminate wells that are not properly sealed.

 Coleman added that soil surfaces near the well should be graded so that water drains away from the well casing, slab, or casing sleeve. This helps prevent any possible contamination that can occur following rainfall events.

 Keep the well site and surrounding areas clean. Trash and overgrown vegetation may hide problems and encourage rodent and snake activity. Do not store chemicals near wells or in well houses.

 Contact your local pump installer or water well driller if you note any problems during your inspection. These licensed professionals are skilled at water well repair and maintenance.

 In addition, Coleman says it is a good practice to have a professional laboratory test the quality of the water in your well each year. This is especially important if there is a change in the appearance, smell, or taste of water produced from the well.

 “We encourage folks to visit the domestic well page on the HPWD website (www.hpwd.org/domestic-wells). It features several fact sheets and additional online resources relating to domestic wells and groundwater quality,” he said.

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HPWD enrolling for 2019 Irrigation Assessment Program

High Plains Underground Water Conservation District is now enrolling producers for participation in its 2019 Irrigation Assessment Program.

Since the program's reinstatement in 2013, cooperating producers have volunteered to have their center pivot or subsurface drip irrigation system evaluated by HPWD staff. Water levels in wells are measured at the beginning and end of the growing season. In addition, flow rates of the wells/irrigation systems are checked with an ultrasonic flow meter. This service is provided by HPWD at no cost to willing participants.

The pumping hours, total gallons of water per minute, and the number of irrigated acres are calculated to determine the total acre-inches of groundwater applied during the growing season. Rainfall totals are determined through the use of radar estimates from April to September. This gives an estimate of the total inches of water available for plant use.

Water samples are also collected as an extra service to those participating in the program. HPWD is able to check Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), chloride, and pH levels of groundwater. It is important to understand water chemistry since it impacts the efficient use of supplemental nutrients applied to crops.

All this information is used to better understand the groundwater conditions in aquifers within the HPWD service area.

For example, the 2018 program participants' well data reveals an average depth-to-water of 225 feet and an average flow rate of 108 gallons per minute. The average amount of irrigation water applied in 2018 by program participants was 15.2 inches for corn, 15 inches for silage, 11.3 inches for cotton, and 5.7 inches for wheat.

All information gathered from each site is shared with program participants. Several producers have said the data has helped them better understand their irrigation system's performance.

"High Plains Water District encourages all interested producers to participate in the 2019 Irrigation Assessment Program. There are two major benefits. First, it helps farmers understand how much water is used per year for crop production. Second, it provides beneficial data for future water planning efforts where accurate irrigation pumping information must be considered," Whitworth said.

Filing continues for Nov. 6, 2018 HPWD Director election

Candidates for Precinct One, Precinct Two, and Precinct Five District Director of the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) may file applications for a place on the general election ballot until 5 p.m., August 20, 2018.  The filing period began July 21.

An application for place on the ballot may be requested by contacting the HPWD office, 2930 Avenue Q, Lubbock, TX 79411-2499 during regular business hours.  The district office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12 noon and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
 
The Board will order a Nov. 6, 2018 election at their August 14 regular meeting. This allows residents in HPWD Precincts One, Two, and Five to choose a District Director to represent them in groundwater matters for the next four years.

Precinct One

District Directors’ Precinct One consists of the portion of Crosby County above the Caprock Escarpment and all of Lubbock and Lynn Counties.  Dan Seale of Lubbock is the incumbent District Director.

Precinct Two

District Directors’ Precinct Two consists of Cochran County, most of Hockley County, and all of Lamb County. Brad Heffington of Littlefield is the incumbent District Director.

Precinct Five

District Directors’ Precinct Five consists of the portion of Floyd County above the Caprock Escarpment and all of Hale and Swisher Counties. Ronnie Hopper of Petersburg is the incumbent District Director.
 
Additional election information is available at www.hpwd.org/election2018 or by calling the district office at (806) 762-0181.