As the year ends, the District is preparing to mail Water Use Reports to all persons with permitted wells within the District. The District Rules require these forms be completed and returned to the District by March 15 of the year following the reporting period.
As with all data collected by the District, this information is not being gathered to infringe upon the rights of the landowner. Just the opposite is true. Accurate data will be necessary in the future to protect water rights.
As the State tries harder in each legislative session to gain authority over groundwater, the efficiency and effectiveness of groundwater districts will be under intense scrutiny. Proving we can manage groundwater at a local level will be imperative. Landowner cooperation will be a vital piece of evidence to support local governing.
The District needs these numbers to support its position in various ways. Regional water plans should, theoretically, utilize our figures. In the Region F Plan completed this summer, irrigation numbers for counties within the District were under-estimated. However, we did not have solid data to back our position. Under-estimating water usage within the District gives the false impression that we have a surplus of water in this area.
Water Use Reports will also give the landowner documentation of historic use, should water rights ever depend upon that concept. Historic use is one of the ideas the legislature looked at this past session.
The forms many of you will be receiving in the mail are relatively simple. With each form is a data sheet for each well on record. Some well owners have flowmeters on the well. Others use hours pumped to determine amount of water used. At any point if a well owner has questions or problems, he or she should not hesitate to contact the District Office. We will be glad to assist with the completion of these forms.