Three Counties Unite for Groundwater Conservation District

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

WEST TEXAS - It all started with a pipeline connecting to groundwater wells in Ward County last year.

The pipeline will be finished in January 2013 and will be an emergency water source for the Colorado River Municipal Water District.

That sparked a grassroots campaign in Ward County to form a groundwater conservation district, which could help control how much water is pumped out.

Now it's Ward, Winkler and Crane counties and it's no longer just grassroots now that all three commissioners courts filed resolutions for the district.

Crane was the last to do it on Tuesday.

Now that all three counties are on board, the next step can happen and that next step is taking those resolutions, putting them into a bill and sending it off to the state.

"The state legislature's got to act on that," Ward County Commissioner for Precinct 2, Larry Hanna, said. "Of course, they've got to approve the actual voting."

"Then it'll come back to the three counties for the people to vote on them," Crane County Commissioner for Precinct 1, Tom Brown, said.

The counties are hoping their senators pick up the bill and get it approved in the Spring 2013 vote.

"Ward and Crane will be in Senator (Robert) Duncan's district. Winkler will be in Senator (Kel) Seliger's."

"They've always been for local districts or local counties, districts having the opportunity to help manage their water," Hanna said.

All three counties have a lot to lose if their groundwater dries up and they want a chance to help preserve it.

"We have Village Farms out here that has the greenhouses," Hanna said. "Our local ranchers and the farmers that we have in this county need water."

"We just feel the need to better understand our aquifer, have the ability to monitor our wells closely, our water usage," Brown said. "Water is a key factor in the life in West Texas."