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HPWD observation wells indicate average annual change in some groundwater levels during 2008


Annual depth-to-water level measurements made in early 2009 by the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 in Lubbock show an average decline of -1.18 feet in the groundwater levels of the Ogallala aquifer during 2008 within the district's 6.8 million acre service area. In comparison, the 2008 depth-to-water level measurements previously indicated an average decline of -0.20 of a foot during 2007.

The district 10-year average annual change rose from -0.82 of a foot for the 2007 report to -0.72 of a foot for the current report. The district five-year average annual change declined from -0.46 of a foot for the 2007 report to -0.42 of a foot for the current report.

An average annual rise in groundwater levels was recorded in Lynn County and the portions of Armstrong and Potter Counties within the district. The water level rises ranged from +0.33 of a foot in the portion of Potter County within the district to +0.56 of a foot in Lynn County.

Depth-to-water level measurements indicated an average annual decline of more than two feet in Castro, Hale, Lamb, and Parmer Counties.

The remaining eight counties within the High Plains Water District had average annual changes in groundwater declines of less than two feet. These ranged from 0.10 of a foot in Lubbock County to 1.69 feet in Deaf Smith County.

Precipitation was not as plentiful in some areas during 2008 as it has been in previous years. As a result, increased pumpage of groundwater from the Ogallala aquifer contributed to the increased decline in water levels in some areas.

Depth-to-water level measurements are normally made from January to March each year to allow stabilization of water levels in the aquifer following pumpage during the previous year of groundwater production. The measurements are made in a network of more than 1,100 privately-owned water wells within the district area. The wells are at a density of one well per nine square miles and are part of the State Observation Well network administered by the Texas Water Development Board in Austin.

The current issue of the High Plains Water District's newsletter, The Cross Section, features the results of the annual 2009 depth-to-water level measurements. It contains individual county maps, which provide the approximate location of each well in the district's observation well network. Each map is accompanied by available 1999, 2004, 2008, and 2009 depth-to-water level measurements for individual wells in that county. Also listed are available total changes in water levels in feet for each observation well for the periods 1999 to 2009, 2004 to 2009, and 2008 to 2009.

Additional information about the annual depth-to-water level measurement program is available by contacting the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 at 806-762-0181 or by visiting the water district's web site at www.hpwd.com.

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