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Planning for Texas’ groundwater resources Posted on May 28, 2020


Transcript

Natalie Ballew – Groundwater Technical Assistance Manager, Texas Water Development Board (00:02):

So, groundwater is a water resource that exists beneath the Earth's surface in what we call an aquifer, which is essentially just a rock formation that can hold a certain amount of water.

Daniel Meyer – Executive Manager, Plum Creek Conservation District (00:14):

It's always been said that the aquifer doesn't stop at political boundaries or districts. It continues.

Natalie Ballew – Groundwater Technical Assistance Manager, Texas Water Development Board (00:23):

A groundwater conservation district is a local entity that manages groundwater resources, and they are charged with protecting and preserving the resources but also educating people about how to conserve their groundwater resources and what exactly groundwater resources are.

Daniel Meyer – Executive Manager, Plum Creek Conservation District (00:39):

What happens in one district could affect the other district and vice versa.

Natalie Ballew – Groundwater Technical Assistance Manager, Texas Water Development Board (00:47):

Joint groundwater planning is a process that groundwater conservation districts participate in to essentially ask themselves what they want their aquifer to look like in the future. And this question gets answered in the form of what they call a desired future condition.

Daniel Meyer – Executive Manager, Plum Creek Conservation District (01:03):

A desired future condition is in a nutshell what you want the aquifer to look like for example in 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years. And it could be based on water levels, what you want the water levels to be. It could be based on spring flow.

Natalie Ballew – Groundwater Technical Assistance Manager, Texas Water Development Board (01:24):

And they do this so that they can ensure that they have enough water available in the next 20 years to support a wide range of uses. Anything we use groundwater for that could be domestic household use, irrigation, and to support all the various industries that we have in Texas.

Dr. Brian Smith – Principal Hydrogeologist, Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (01:41):

So the groundwater districts come together and meet periodically and exchange data and ideas about their aquifers and together they decide what they want their future conditions to be, their desired future conditions for their part of these aquifers. So with that in mind, they're kind of working such that they're not working at odds with each other. They understand what the neighboring groundwater districts are doing, how they're regulating groundwater, and what they want their future conditions to be.

Natalie Ballew – Groundwater Technical Assistance Manager, Texas Water Development Board (02:09):

After districts come up with their desired future conditions, the Texas Water Development Board provides them with a number called the modeled available groundwater. And that number is essentially the amount of water that can be pumped from the ground so that a district can actually achieve their desired future condition, say 20 years down the road.

Dr. Brian Smith – Principal Hydrogeologist, Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (02:27):

So as the districts come up with the desired future conditions and those conditions are passed along to the Water Development Board, the Water Development Board will do various kinds of analyses and modeling to determine, well, under these conditions, here's how much water is believed to be available for pumping. If we weren't doing this, I don't think anybody would be collecting as much data and interpreting it if the district didn't exist. And that would mean that no one was paying attention to how much pumping is going on in the aquifer, whether we're in drought or not, and what all the implications of pumping are.

Natalie Ballew – Groundwater Technical Assistance Manager, Texas Water Development Board (03:04):

What the Water Development Board does in conjunction with groundwater conservation districts specifically with joint groundwater planning is critical to the future water supplies of Texas because groundwater and surface water, the life of Texas and economy depends on it. And our quality of life really depends on what our water supplies are.

This article is posted in Water Planning / Water Supply / Groundwater .