Regional water regulator approves Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District’s groundwater management goals in “big win” for Montgomery County

Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District Board President Harry Hardman.

Conroe and Jasper, January 6 – The Groundwater Management Area 14 (GMA 14) regional regulatory representative of the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) approved the proposed groundwater conservation regulatory goals of the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD) yesterday morning. The approval is a major step forward to the elected Board of Directors of LSGCD, which had to submit its proposed desired future conditions (DFCs) to GMA 14 before the locally-elected Board could approve those DFCs themselves.

The LSGCD-proposed DFCs would set groundwater management goals through 2080. The approved DFCs balance the desire to preserve Montgomery County’s groundwater supply for future generations, manage subsidence to the extent it is actually related to groundwater extraction, and protect property rights.

The adopted DFCs read as follows:

“In each county in GMA 14, no less than 70 percent median available drawdown remaining in 2080 or no more than an average of 1.0 additional foot of subsidence between 2009 and 2080.”

LSGCD Board President Harry Hardman, who has invested enormous time into the development of the proposed DFC and the approval by GMA 14, said, “We are appreciative of our fellow GMA 14 members for collaborating on behalf of their communities to develop DFCs utilizing the best science available. These DFCs represent the regional goals for the shared aquifers while also addressing the need for local control of water policy. We are committed to continuing our subsidence research and refining our groundwater policy as needed to protect the residents of Montgomery County.”

LSGCD is in the middle of a scientific study by geological and hydrological experts on the actual impact, if any, of groundwater production in Montgomery County on subsidence, if any.

The Texas Water Development Board (TWBD) requires the state’s sixteen GMAs to develop and adopt their DFCs every five years. The last DFCs were completed in 2016, and the next round will be completed by Jan. 5, 2027. Chapter 36 of the Texas Water Code governs the process for creating these goals. This code mandates a 90-day public comment period, after which time the voting groundwater conservation districts in the GMA can amend the proposed DFCs before approval and final adoption. Chapter 36 also allows the voting GCDs located within the same management area to have

In a press release, LSGCD noted, “There were many public meetings to gather input from stakeholders and citizens about what they wanted their future water availability to look like.”

Hardman told The Golden Hammer, “This vote is a big win for the citizens of Montgomery County and the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District. Today’s vote will enable Lone Star to conclude its multi-phased Subsidence Study (the first of its kind) to research and determine – based on the most comprehensive and best science available – how to most effectively manage subsidence countywide. When completed, this extensive study will give us the data we need to develop a holistic plan on how to manage subsidence long term. We know we need to make strategic plans and investments in additional monitoring equipment throughout the county to address this issue, and the results of the study will give us the blueprint to make the right investments – in the right equipment and in the right locations – to maximize the effectiveness of these investments.  To have inflicted the originally proposed subsidence DFC on the District now would have been unreasonable, unmanageable, and unnecessary. We are glad the other groundwater conservation districts in our region came to the same conclusion.”

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