Request for Public Input on Brackish Groundwater Production Zones

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) seeks public input to identify and designate local or regional brackish groundwater production zones in areas of the state with moderate to high availability and productivity of brackish groundwater that can be used to reduce the use of fresh groundwater.

Public input may be provided on or before October 30, 2015, in several ways:

  • at a public meeting scheduled for 10:00 AM, October 26, 2015, in Room 170 of the Stephen F. Austin Building, 1700 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas, and/or
  • in written comments submitted to Dr. Sanjeev Kalaswad, Director of Conservation & Innovative Water Technologies, by letter (Texas Water Development Board, P.O. Box 13231, Austin, TX 78711-3231), by email (sanjeev.kalaswad@twdb.texas.gov), or by fax (512-936-0816).

In 2015, the 84th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 30 directing the TWDB to identify and designate brackish groundwater production zones in

  • the portion of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer located between the Colorado River and Rio Grande, the Gulf Coast Aquifer and sediments bordering that aquifer, the Blaine Aquifer, and the Rustler Aquifer (findings to be summarized in the biennial desalination report due to the legislature by December 1, 2016);and
  • the remaining areas of the state unless otherwise exempted (findings to be summarized in biennial desalination reports due to the legislature no later than December 1, 2022).

In designating a brackish groundwater production zone, the TWDB will determine the amount of brackish groundwater that the zone is capable of producing over a 30-year period and a 50-year period without causing a significant impact to water availability or water quality in any area of the same (or other) aquifers that have an average total dissolved solids concentration of less than 1,000 milligrams per liter. The TWDB will also provide recommendations for reasonable monitoring to observe the effects of brackish groundwater production.

For this effort, the TWDB will work with groundwater conservation districts and stakeholders. The TWDB anticipates several opportunities for stakeholders to participate in the designation process: (1) the public meeting on October 26, (2) a to-be-determined meeting to discuss potential areas of further study for potential designations, (3) a review of the study on potential designations, and (4) an official TWDB Board meeting when the Board considers designations.

The purpose of the public meeting on October 26 is to (1) explain the TWDB's approach in implementing House Bill 30, (2) solicit feedback on what constitutes “significant impact,” and (3) receive general comments concerning implementation of the legislation. Because of the ambitious deadlines in the legislation, the TWDB will post requests for qualifications to perform technical work in support of the legislation in the near future. Note that contractors will not be making recommendations to the Board to designate brackish groundwater production zones; only the Executive Administrator will make these recommendations.

If you would like to receive future notices of meetings and information concerning the implementation of House Bill 30, please send your email address or other appropriate contact information to sanjeev.kalaswad@twdb.texas.gov.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on House Bill 30.

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