Glasscock GCD

Published May 23, 2024 by Julia Stanford

Glasscock Groundwater Conservation District is based in Garden City, Texas, about 30 miles south of Big Spring and east of Midland.  The area has always been known for its rich farming heritage and oil production from the Spraberry Trend oil field, which continue to define the region today. Water, or lack of it, can make or break these industries and the communities that depend on them. Glasscock GCD protects the area’s groundwater resources by regulating well drilling and well spacing in 999 square miles of West Texas.

Established in 1981 by the 67th Texas Legislature, Glasscock GCD encompasses the entirety of Glasscock County, as well as a surprise patchwork of ranches south of the county line. There is now a groundwater conservation district in neighboring Reagan County, but in the years after Glasscock GCD was created, many landowners who farmed or lived in Glasscock County chose to annex their land in Reagan County into the Glasscock district to have the same regulations and protections apply to all of their properties. The Santa Rita Underground Water Conservation District was created eight years after Glasscock GCD with the remaining land in Reagan County, producing the unique, piecemeal district map you see on the right.

Services With a Smile

Like many groundwater conservation districts, Glasscock GCD is managed by a team of two – General Manager Rhetta Hector, and Administrative Assistant Rocio De Luna. Proving to be small but mighty, the district offers constituents the same level of service that one might expect from a larger staff. Rhetta frequently trades her high heels for boots when she needs to make a quick run into the field to verify a well location for a permit application, ensuring that the proposed well complies with the district’s rules on property line spacing (660 ft.) and well density (no more than 16 per section) as promulgated in Rule 7 of the district’s rules.

Other measures taken by the district to protect well owners include monitoring water levels annually from about 50 wells, as well as performing water quality sampling and testing. Glasscock GCD is pleased to offer well owners a complimentary water quality analysis of their well water. After the first sample, subsequent samples can be tested for just $10 each. The district covers the cost of testing at an accredited lab to give well owners confidence in their drinking water supply. For those concerned about possible contaminants beyond a typical drinking water panel, Glasscock GCD staff will take the sample and facilitate advanced testing to be done at an accredited lab at cost for the well owner.

Community and Conservation

In performing all of those services, Rhetta gets to visit and build relationships with well owners – that is, if she doesn’t already know them! Rhetta was born and raised in Glasscock County, and has worked at the district since 2010 after spending a few years away overseas. According to the most recent census, there are just over 1,000 residents of Glasscock County, and Rhetta probably knows them all from her own community involvement as well as her long tenure with the district. Rhetta says that when someone attempts to drill a well before obtaining board approval, she usually hears about it and can intervene before any equipment has even touched the ground!

Another interesting fact about the people within Glasscock GCD is that many farmers in this area are conserving water by using subsurface drip irrigation. One of the founding district board members, Hubert Frerich, was a pioneer in drip irrigation and the founder of Eco-Drip. The majority of irrigated farmland within Glasscock GCD is irrigated with drip irrigation. Subsurface drip irrigation boasts a 97% efficiency rate, compared to figures in the 70s and 80s for more traditional spray applications. In an area where water levels are rapidly declining, every drop counts.

To learn more about Glasscock GCD, visit