Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation (LPGCD) recently issued a significant permit for a large volume of water to the applicant EndOp LP. Unique to the multiyear negotiations on this permit, is the application of a tiered permitting approach. The framework of this tiered permitting approach closely follows that of permit LPGCD has with another large producer, Forestar Real Estate Group. The tiered permitting approach will allow EndOP to begin by producing 28,000 ac/ft per year. Once EndOp has produced at least half of the permitted volume for three consecutive years the LPGCD will make sure its still on track to not exceed its Desired Future Condition (DFC). At this time the Board will also determine if EndOp has contracts to supply additional water beyond the permitted 28,000 ac-ft/yr. If both these conditions hold true, EndOP’s permit will step up to its next tier of production level. The same review of the DFC and minimum production requirements will take place for the second and third production tiers. If conditions are met, EndOP’s permit will reach its final tier of 48,000 ac/ft per year. As a condition of their large production permits, both Forestar and EndOp agreed to place monitor wells at sites across the District agreed to by both the permit holders and the District and allow LPGCD to collect a minimum of one year of monitoring data before production begins. The District is working in coordination with the permitees and their hydrogeologists to select the monitor wells sites.
The District is in the process of modernizing its data handling. LPGCD hopes to build out a customized database that, among other features, will allow them to link real-time information in the database to their website. This will then be a service to members of the public who are interested in having easy access to registered well locations and pumping reports. LPGCD also hopes to link their network of monitor wells and SCADA system so that the public will be able to view current aquifer conditions and monitor trends. The database will also be a service to District staff, functioning as a workflow tool to make permitting and other processes flow more efficiently. In an effort to further improve efficiency and accuracy, LPGCD would like to include in the design of the database built-in error detection.
LPGCD partners with the Ag Extension Service to provide water quality testing for residents and business owners in the District. Water quality testing is run out of the Ag Extension office and LPGCD provides funds in support of the program. Residents can have their water tested for both bacterial and elemental issues. The District on average sees about 20 new residents per year take advantage of this program.
Because LPGCD is expecting but still have not experienced high volumes of pumping in the Simsboro Aquifer, the District has the opportunity to monitor the interactions between the Hooper, Simsboro, and Calvert Bluff Aquifer as pumping comes online and begins to impact hydrostatic pressure within the Simsboro. Depending on what data is received, this could present itself as both an opportunity and a challenge to the management of the aquifer moving forward.
For more information, visit lostpineswater.org.