Well Plugging Program
Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (MTGDC) has an established well plugging program that has been in operation for the past 10 years. The district plugs an average of 35 wells per year for landowners in their area through the program, covering all costs associated with the service. Having a well plugged can be an expensive venture for a landowner, but the District feels this is an important service to offer as abandoned or deteriorated wells can lead to pollution of the aquifer.
Groundwater Management Area
MTGCD is a member of Groundwater Management Area (GMA) 8. The districts in GMA 8 worked collaboratively to create an updated Groundwater Availability Model (GAM) for the most recent round of Joint Groundwater Planning. The GMA worked collaboratively to contribute to the model, with the four newly established districts contributing funds totaling $2M, and the remaining districts incorporating their databases into the new model. GMA 8 members worked collaboratively with the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) as the model was being developed, ironing out issues along the way and ensuring a faster approval process.
Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts
MTGCD’s General Manager, Joe B. Cooper III, currently serves as the President of the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts (TAGD). In reflecting on the value of TAGD, Mr. Cooper pointed to the important platform TAGD provides for districts to share best practices, lessons learned, and general information on how to most effectively operate a district. As the legislative session comes to a close and rulemaking is set to begin, Mr. Cooper feels that knowledge sharing between GCDs becomes particularly useful as districts determine how to implement new rules.
Challenges and Opportunities
Priority Groundwater Management Area
Over the past few years, MTGCD has also focused efforts on incorporating new territories identified as Priority Groundwater Management Areas (PGMA) into the district. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has the authority to designate an area that is likely to experience groundwater issues, including shortages, subsidence, or contamination as a PGMA and make recommendations for the creation of a GCD for the area. MTGCD’s two neighboring counties of Bosque and Coryell were designated PGMAs by TCEQ; they petitioned to be annexed by MTGCD rather than form their own GCDs.
In the annexation process, the biggest challenge to the District with incorporating the two new counties was getting up-to-speed with their different conditions. In particular, Bosque County posed hydrogeological challenges due to its location in the down dip of the aquifer and its position next to a high-growth suburb of Waco. Increased pumping in the neighboring county combined with its unique hydrogeological conditions meant that Bosque County was seeing higher rates of depletion. Through the collaborative efforts of GMA 8, MTGCD was able to work with their neighbor Southern Trinity GCD to move folks away from groundwater and onto surface water, allowing for a more sustainable management of groundwater resources in the area.
Visit MTGCD’s website to learn more.