A well is a well….or is it?

After the release of our latest newsletter, I received dozens of phone calls. An article in the newsletter reminded owners of permitted wells to submit their annual water use reports. The difference between wells that need to be permitted and wells that need to be registered is quite confusing.

Any well within the District boundaries, regardless of its source aquifer, needs to be either permitted or registered. As of August 1999, the District became responsible for all aquifers, not just Hickory.

Any well that is NOT capable of producing 25,000 gallons a day and is used for domestic or stock should be registered. The registration process is quite simple. Merely complete a registration form, sign and submit to the district office.

Permitting is a little more complicated. Any large producing well (more than 25,000 gallons a day) that is used for irrigation, public water supply, or industry, must be permitted according to Chapter 36, Texas Water Code. (§36.113. Permits for Wells (a) A district shall require permits for the drilling, equipping, or completing of wells or for substantially altering the size of wells or well pumps.)
Smaller wells covered by registrations are exempted from permitting by §36.117.

Aside from the legality issue, documentation of wells and water used will definitely benefit the landowner in the long run. First and foremost, there is a definite possibility that in the future, the State will take control of groundwater much as it has surface water, doing away with groundwater districts. Should this occur, having documented your wells in the past will likely preserve your water rights in the future.

For the time being, as water legislation becomes stricter, so will District Rules. The District will have no choice. Now is the time to register and permit wells so they will be grandfathered under the more lenient, current rules.

Accurate records are vital to the preservation of water in this area. Unless the District has documentation to support its use numbers, there will be a misrepresentation of data. In other words, it will falsely appear that the District has more water than it actually does.

The Hickory UWCD is not an outside agency attempting to control groundwater in the district. Formed in 1982 by a petition by the people in the area, the primary objective of the District is to protect the water rights of the individuals within its boundaries. We are supported by tax dollars and work FOR the people.

If you have any questions or comments, please, do not hesitate to contact us at 325-597-2785 or by email hickoryuwcd@yahoo.com. Forms, rules, maps, and other information is available online at www.hickoryuwcd.org.