Prairielands GCD Board of Directors adopts amendments to district rules

Daily Light report

CLEBURNE - The Board of Directors for the Prairielands Groundwater Conservation District held a public hearing on Nov. 16 to adopt amendments to the District Rules regulating water wells within the boundaries of the district, which includes Ellis, Hill, Johnson and Somervell counties.

Over the months leading up to the meeting, the district staff and directors worked ardently to identify needed rules improvements in the course of implementing the District Rules that were adopted on Dec. 17, 2018, and previously amended on Oct. 21, 2019. The Board’s Rules and Bylaws Committee worked to develop recommended amendments to the District Rules to address such improvements.

According to a news release, "Publication of the proposed amendments to the District Rules were made available to the public on Oct. 27, 2020, and a public notice of a hearing on the consideration of adopting the amended rules was published in newspapers across the four county districts no less than 20 days prior to the public hearing. At the public hearing, which was held virtually via audio/video teleconference and in person at the meeting room inside the District office in Cleburne, the Board considered any oral and written comments from the public on the proposed amendments to the District Rules, and after taking up and considering the proposed amendments to the District Rules, the Board adopted the amendments as presented."

The adopted amendments to the District Rules included ending the early payment incentive for water use fees that was established in the District’s original Temporary Rules, as well as water use payment exemptions for certain flushing requirements required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and for emergency purposes, in favor of an annual refund on conserved water under a permit.

"These amendments also authorize the Board to establish certain administrative fees presently set forth in the rules instead by resolution, clarifying hearings procedures on applications for exceptions to well spacing and minimum tract size requirements, clarifying methods for calculating well spacing requirements, making minor typographical, formatting, and clarifying corrections to the transfer of well ownership rules, the definition of 'maximum historic use,' and other rules, as well as other non-substantive clarifying and conforming changes," according to the release.

The adopted amendments to the District Rules are necessary to support the district’s efforts in managing the groundwater resources within the boundaries of the district, the release said.

Information about the public hearing and copies of the amended District Rules are available on the district’s website at www.prairielandsgcd.org . Physical copies can be obtained by visiting the district office at 208 Kimberly Drive in Cleburne.