Groundwater Management Area 12 (GMA-12)
NOTE: Realizing that groundwater pumping had the potential of causing unreasonable harm to the Colorado River, Environmental Stewardship’s Executive Director, Steve Box, started participating in these proceedings in 2008. The first presentation to the GMA-12 representatives on the potential harm that might result from groundwater pumping was given by Mr. Box on October 30, 2008. Environmental Stewardship was the first to appeal the 2012 adopted Desired Future Conditions to the Texas Water Development Board.
GMA-12 is a management area established by the State to manage the groundwater resources within a 14 county area over the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer Group, Sparta, Queen City, Yegua-Jackson, Brazos River Alluvium and Colorado River Alluvium aquifers. There are five Groundwater Conservation Districts (GCD). The GCDs are mandated by law to work cooperatively together to establish desired future conditions (DFCs) for the aquifers within the GMA-12 territorial boundaries, to review and re-adopt the DFCs every five years.
GMA-12 consists of the following groundwater districts:
Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District
Brazos & Robertson counties
Fayette County Groundwater Conservation District
Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District
Bastrop & Lee counties
Mid-East Texas Groundwater Conservation District
Freestone, Leon & Madison counties
Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District
Burleson & Milam counties
Other counties that are not within a groundwater district include: Falls, Limestone, Navarro, and Williamson. For these counties, the Judge is the contact point for participation in the process because counties have the authority to establish county subdivision rules that can have groundwater management implications.
Desired Future Conditions (DFCs) Development Process:
The Texas Water Code requires that the GMA develop DFCs that “provide a balance between the highest practicable level of groundwater production and the conservation, preservation, protection, recharging, and prevention of waste of groundwater and control of subsidence in the management area.”
There are nine items that must be considered by the GMA in developing the DFCs:
CONSIDERATION 1 – “Aquifer uses or conditions within the management area, including conditions that differ substantially from one geographic area to another:”
CONSIDERATION 2 – “The water supply needs and water management strategies included in the state water plan:”
CONSIDERATION 3 – “Hydrological conditions, including for each aquifer in the management area the total estimated recoverable storage as provided by the executive administrator, and the average annual recharge, inflows, and discharge:”
CONSIDERATION 4 – “Other environmental impacts, including impacts on spring flow and other interactions between groundwater and surface water:”
CONSIDERATION 5 – “The impact on subsidence:”
CONSIDERATION 6 – “Socioeconomic impacts reasonably expected to occur:”
CONSIDERATION 7 – “The impact on the interests and rights in private property, including ownership and the rights of management area landowners and their lessees and assigns in groundwater:”
CONSIDERATION 8 – “The feasibility of achieving the desired future condition:”
CONSIDERATION 9 – “Any other information relevant to the specific desired future conditions:”
Public Review and Comments
Following adoption of proposed desired future conditions (DFCs) the GMA-12 Districts are required to provide “a period of not less than 90 days for public comments”. “After the public hearing the district shall compile for consideration at the next joint planning meeting a summary of relevant comments received, any suggested revisions to the proposed desired future conditions, and the basis for revisions.”
The Districts are then required to prepare an “explanatory report” for the management area and submit to the final adopted DFCs along with the explanatory report to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) for review and acceptance.