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Not long ago, anyone could drill a well on their property, find water, and be entitled to use it. But now, rules are in place that regulate whether property owners can even drill a well or pump water.
Some landowners feel the new system is robbing them of their rights.
"Unless you get the permit and unless you fall in the area where it's permitted, you don't have a right to produce that water and you're not compensated for it, so it's a stripping of property rights," said Bill Lightsey with the Brazos-Robertson County Landowners Association.
The Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District has started accepting applications for historic use permits. The permits will regulate currently active wells that aren't solely for domestic use and those which produce more than 50,000 gallons of water per day. The Conservation District says these permits are needed to help conserve groundwater in our area.
However, landowners like Lightsey say the way the guidelines were written could allow selected well owners to pump high volumes of water at the expense of other landowners.
"We've been back to the drawing board on many occassions to redraft rules and rethink things. We tried our best to be a fair and as equitable as possible in the application of these rules, there's no way we can make everyone happy, and still fulfill all of the objectives," said district president Tom McDonald.
The Brazos Valley Water Alliance is a landowner cooperative that helps with water marketing. The alliance requested another hearing on the new rules, but was denied by the district.