TAGD sat down with TGWA to learn more about the Association, their mission, and the ways in which they partner with GCDs.
TAGD: Tell us a little about the Texas Ground Water Association
TGWA: The Texas Ground Water Association (TGWA) is the state trade association for water well drillers, manufacturers and suppliers of water well drilling equipment, and groundwater scientists. TGWA was established in 1947 with the mission to assist, promote, encourage, and support the interests and welfare of the Texas water well industry on a state and national level.
TGWA currently has 507 member entities spread across eight geographic chapters throughout the state. This number includes three primary membership types: contractors and drillers, manufacturers and suppliers, and groundwater science.
TAGD: TGWA holds continuing education classes, correct? Can you tell us a little about those?
TGWA: The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) and TGWA are the only licensed on-site providers of continuing education (CE) classes for water well drillers, apprentices, and pump installers based in Texas. State rules require that water well drillers and pump installers complete four hours of continuing education annually to renew their licenses. Water well drilling apprentices are required to complete one hour of continuing education. TGWA offers CE classes during the annual convention, but since Texas is so large, the association coordinates16-18 additional classes across the state from February through August.
TAGD: What do the classes cover? What’s the usual turnout?
TGWA: All water well drillers, pump installers, and apprentices are required to complete the rules and regulations course offered by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Other topics range from variable frequency drives and solar pump technology to drilling fluids and groundwater management in Texas, to name just a few. Attendance varies for the CE classes—with anywhere from 11-100 people in attendance. In 2018, total attendance across all classes was over 950 participants.
TAGD: Do you have any partners in putting on these classes?
TGWA: TGWA has several partners who help with CE classes. Current partners include pump companies, TGWA chapters, and Groundwater Conservation Districts.
TAGD: What is your goal in encouraging GCD participation in CE classes?
TGWA: Since 2017, TGWA has partnered with at least four GCDs to host/co-host CE classes. Even if a GCD is not hosting a CE class, district staff is welcome to attend a class in their area to connect with local drillers. The goal is to use CE classes to connect water well drillers with their local GCDs to help build relationships, as well as provide a platform for questions on local management rules. This type of open communication facilitates an opportunity to bridge information gaps between water well drillers and GCDs.
TAGD: What other opportunities for collaboration do you see between the GCDs, TGWA, and water well drillers?
TGWA: A common question from water well drillers relates to drilling requirements in different districts. Some drillers are not sure if they are drilling in a district boundary, while others aren’t sure if rules vary between districts. There is an opportunity to develop coordinated materials that would help drillers know more about the exact rules of a district before drilling begins. There may also be opportunities to collaborate on educational seminars apart from CE classes.
TAGD: Tell us about your Ground Water Science division.
TGWA: The Ground Water Science (GWS) division is made up of GCDs, hydrologists, geologists, engineers, and consultants. There are 15 GCDs who are members in this division. The GWS division has its own board of directors. We encourage GCDs to join TGWA through this division. Annual membership is only $150.
TAGD: And that division puts on the Geoscientist Seminar, correct?
TGWA: Correct. At the 2019 TGWA Annual Convention, the Ground Water Science division hosted its first Geoscience Seminar: Trinity Aquifer. Topics included geophysical logging, well construction and completion, water production, as well as aquifer characterization within the Trinity Aquifer formation. Approximately 50 people attended the full-day event. Professional geologists and engineers received eight hours of CE credit for attending. TGWA plans to have another seminar focused on local hydrology matters during the 2020 convention in Frisco.
www.tgwa.org, Facebook: @texasgwa