From the Ground Up - Groundwater Conservation Districts

The Texas Legislature and Texas Courts have made it clear that landowners own any water that is beneath their property.

The legislature also made it possible for counties to form local groundwater conservation districts to help regulate the movement of water. Several years ago, voters in Brazos and Robertson Counties voted to create the Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District.

It has four board members from each county, representing the interests of municipalities, agriculture, industry, and rural water districts. Alan Day is general manager of the Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District.

“We have a very precious resource, natural resource here, but we need it to last well into the future. One of the things that the district is charged with doing is looking fifty years out, that were using the amount that will allow us fifty years from now to have what we call a desired future condition.”

Day says that in our area, typically agriculture and municipalities don’t use the same source for their water.

“Our agricultural users in our two counties primarily use Brazos River alluvial waters. Those waters are fairly high in iron, fairly high in salts, not a source that is normally used by the municipalities. The municipalities use from our Simsboro Aquifer, primarily, and those waters are very deep here in the Bryan College Station area.”

The groundwater district has designated two types of wells.

“If you have a domestic livestock well which is a well that produces less than fifty thousand gallons a day, about thirty-five gallons per minute. You can use that for your household, for watering livestock, and some light irrigation for that matter.”

There are no fees or meters on these wells.

“Those wells that are going to be used for municipal use, a large agricultural irrigation use, it’s necessary to come in and get a non-exempt well, and those will be eventually metered, fees paid, and on the water used.”

Whether you live in the city, or are involved in production agriculture, it’s in everyone’s common interest to conserve water.

“Farmers have, for a very long time, not been wasters of water. It’s costly. It’s cost efficient to use, to water as few times as you have to water. And our homeowners, we’re trying to get them to understand that most of your lawns don’t need but, in the worst of the summertime about an inch of water per week. We tend to water one time too many, every single week.”