T. Boone Pickens filed a petition to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to require one desired future condition (DFC) for the Texas Panhandle and to dissolve the groundwater districts there. The Hemphill Co. Underground water district, the North Plains Groundwater Conservation district, the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation district, and the High Plains Underground Water district, which form the Groundwater Management Area 1, have developed last Summer three different Desired Future Conditions for the next 50 years. Some districts have adopted a 50% conservation plan, others 40%, and Hemphill Co. Underground Water district set its conservation plan to conserve 80% of the water. The groundwater districts are very different in the way they use their water. The North-Western Panhandle area, which chose the lowest conservation plan, is highly irrigated cropland while the Hemphill district, which set the most stringent conservation rate, hardly use water being mostly rolling rangeland. The Panhandle markets much water to the cities. Pickens’ Mesa Water formed in the 1990s to sell water to the cities to the South. Mesa lawyer in the petition opines to the TCEQ that the Panhandle groundwater districts have failed to jointly plan for the Desired Future Conditions for their management area as a whole as dictated by the Texas Water Code. No county or water district in the Panhandle includes all the aquifer or a subdivision; therefore water production in one district can affect another district nearby. Another groundwater attorney stated that groundwater districts have adopted those Desired Future Conditions on a politically correct basis that will not even guarantee that the 80% of groundwater will remain underneath Hemphill County.
(Livestock Weekly, by David Bowser, 10/7/2010)