UTGCD to hold hearing on raising lot size minimum

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, November 7, 2018

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In their proposed rule changes, Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District is looking to increase minimum lot size for drilling a water well in Wise County could go from 2 to 5 acres.

The district will hold a public meeting on the proposed rule changes 9 a.m. Nov. 15 at Weatherford College Wise County. Wise County residents will have their chance to voice their thoughts and ask questions during the meeting, which is one of four scheduled in the district. Meetings will also be held in Granbury, Weatherford and Bowie.

UTGCD oversees groundwater permitting and conservation in Hood, Montague, Parker and Wise.

Last month before the release of the proposed rule changes, which could be adopted in early 2019, UTGCD General Manager Doug Shaw said the change is to increase spacing between wells and protect aquifer resources that have been reduced due to an influx of drilling in the past decade.

“There’s more water wells drilled in our four counties than any other groundwater district in the state,” Shaw said. “There’s more wells drilled in Parker County than any county in the state. Wise County has consistently been in the top 10 to top 15 in the state.”

Last year, he said, the district processed more than 600 well applications in Parker County and nearly 400 in Wise County. Districtwide there were 1,200.

In the 150 wells where they monitor water levels, the areas where they see the largest water level decline is around large subdivisions with wells.

“It’s just the proliferation of wells that could potentially cause a longterm issue in water levels,” Shaw said. “We have regulatory authority over public water supply wells, wells for oil and gas purposes, commercial wells. We have the ability to permit and limit the amount of water they produce each year. With domestic wells, the only real authority we have with them is tract size. Once they are in the ground, they can pump 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The only regulatory authority we really have is to limit the number of straws going into the ground. The only way we can get there is increasing the tract size.”

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