The Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District’s board of directors approved a number of amendments to its rules and regulatory plan at its December board meeting on Tuesday. The approved amendments primarily address three areas of groundwater management.
LSGCD General Manager Kathy Turner Jones said, “These updates are practical, common-sense additions that better serve our permittees, the public, and the District’s ongoing mission to conserve, protect, and enhance Montgomery County’s groundwater resources.”
While the first two District Rules amended were unanimous, the last was approved by a 6-3 decision. This item creates a variance process in which a landowner may petition LSGCD for additional groundwater production authorization over and above that allowed under the District Regulatory Plan in situations where the landowner feels that the pumping limits imposed by the regulations impede his or her ability to obtain a fair share of the common groundwater resources in the aquifers underlying Montgomery County, based upon the particular facts and circumstances related to the individual landowner.
The criteria approved by the board of directors for considering and acting on such a variance application were taken directly from the laws governing groundwater management as established recently by the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Legislature.
Additionally, all three amendments, prior to the board’s vote on Tuesday, were supported by the Stakeholder Advisory Committee which was specifically set up to assist the board during review processes.
Of the unanimously passed amendments, the first authorizes the creation of temporary permits for water wells used to supply water to construction projects or to supply water for the drilling of permanent wells. It also establishes the requirements related to obtaining such permits, including an obligation for the well driller who obtains such a temporary permit to plug the well upon completion of the project in order to protect groundwater quality in Montgomery County.
The second unanimously passed amendment eliminates certain provisions that prohibited the utilization of groundwater produced from the Gulf Coast Aquifer in counties immediately adjacent to Montgomery County as an acceptable alternative water source to comply with the LSGCD’s regulatory system.
LSGCD’s next board meeting will be at 10 a.m. on Jan. 12. Visit www.LoneStarGCD.org for more information.