Permitting and Registering Wells

Things are heating up this summer at the District. The District has been spending countless hours tracking legislative action. Now as the State Legislature goes into special session, we will be paying close attention to any activities relating to water and your rights as Texas Landowners.

The role of the State in affairs of personal property is becoming a more and more frequently addressed issue. The District’s latest newsletter reiterated the need for landowners to permit and register all wells. As citizens become aware of the urgency of the situation, they have become more willing to cooperate with the District in this endeavor.

The District has been mailing reminder letters to well owners who have not yet registered or permitted their wells. Many citizens misunderstood the request and feared the District was overstepping their bounds and infringing upon personal property rights. We are not attempting to take water rights away from anyone. We are merely attempting to ensure all residents will be able to maintain their water rights in the future.

During this year’s Texas Legislative Session, water issues were key. A legislative committee studied ground and surface water law, policy and management. Among these issues are the role of federal, state and local government in setting water policies, the authority of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the role of groundwater districts, the rule of capture, historic use standards, and water marketing. While no major action has been taken so far, the road has been paved for future change.

The State of Texas could potentially take control of all groundwater. Should control of groundwater be removed from local government authority and placed in the hands of the state, documentation of historic use will be necessary to ensure continued rights to ones own water. For this reason, registering and permitting wells is vital. While most citizens prefer no group have authority over their water whatsoever, they understand the next best scenario would be that authority remains at a local level. For this to happen, groundwater districts must prove they are capable of managing the resource. Citizen cooperation is vital. We must be able to show we have accurate records of water usage within District Boundaries.

Going hand-in-hand with this concept, the District is also starting the process of obtaining summer water levels. We measure approximately 200 wells every summer and winter. Fluctuations in water levels are analyzed and the data is used in the management process. Anyone who owns a well that would be available for annual monitoring is encouraged to contact the District. We are particularly seeking wells in southern Mason County and southeastern Concho County. If you have any questions or comments, please, do not hesitate to contact us by phone at 325-597-2785, email hickoryuwcd@yahoo.com, or drop in for a visit at 111 East Main on the north-east side of the square in downtown Brady. If you happen to see one of the District vehicles in your neighborhood, flag us down. We’re always eager to assist in any way possible.