HPWD Board approves Phase Two rule amendments with revisions
The High Plains Underground Water Conservation District Board of Directors unanimously approved a revised version of proposed "Phase Two" amendments to the district's rules during their regular January meeting. The revised rules are effective Jan. 14.
Manager Jim Conkwright offered several recommendations for Board consideration, following their review of comments received at five public hearings held in December within the district's 15-county service area.
The recommendations were:
--Lowering current water well permitting requirements from 25 gallons of water per minute to 17.5 gallons of water per minute;
--Dropping proposed water well spacing requirements as presented in the draft rules and leaving current distances in place;
--Allowing all water wells (pre-district and permitted) to be replaced one time only as long as the replacement well is within 50 yards of the existing well site. New well locations must comply with current well spacing requirements. All future replacement wells would require a new permit after the initial one-time replacement;
--Allowing abandoned water wells to produce 17.5 gallons of water or less;
--Adopting all other proposed draft "Phase Two" rules, including permitting and spacing of water wells drilled into the Dockum ("Santa Rosa") aquifer within the district.
Some area residents voiced concerns about the proposed rules during the meeting. Comments ranged from concern about rulemaking powers and their infringement upon personal property rights to possible impacts of additional groundwater restrictions upon the regional agricultural economy. Others thanked the Water District's Board of Directors for listening to testimony provided at the public hearings and not adopting the draft rules as initially presented.
"The Board has received a great deal of public input about the proposed Phase Two rules. We are trying to protect water rights, rather than take water rights away. There has to be some 'give and take' in order to preserve water for future use. We've got to evaluate the whole situation. We know that we can't please everyone, but we are trying to be as equitable as possible," said District Director Bruce Rigler of Plainview, who represents Hale County and the portion of Floyd County in the district.
District Director James P. Mitchell of Wolfforth agreed. "It is not the district's intent to do unreasonable things (in managing groundwater). We want to be as realistic and reasonable as possible to work with both producers and legislators. That's our intent and goal."
The revised rules are available for downloading/viewing on the front page of the High Plains Water District's website at www.hpwd.com. Printed copies are also available by contacting the district's headquarters at 806-762-0181.