Groundwater Conservation District Facts

  • There are 98 groundwater conservation districts (GCDs) in Texas. Of these, one is awaiting confirmation by voters through a local election. Not all GCDs require confirmation to begin operation but most do. The locations and extents of GCDs are shown on the GCD map.
  • A GCD or underground water conservation district (UWCD) is a district created under Texas Constitution, Article III, Section 52 or Article XVI, Section 59 that has the authority to regulate the spacing of water wells, the production from water wells, or both.
  • GCDs are created either by the Texas Legislature subject to the authority, conditions, and restrictions of Article XVI, Section 59 of the Texas Constitution, or by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality through a local petition process (Texas Water Code §36.013 - §36.015). The legislature has created about one to three GCDs on average during recent sessions.
  • Sixty-six groundwater conservation districts elect a board of directors, and thirty-one appoint a board of directors through the county commissioners’ courts, municipalities, or other entities. One groundwater conservation district, the Edwards Aquifer Authority, has a combination of elected (voting) and appointed (non-voting) directors. Another groundwater conservation district, the Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District, has a combination of elected directors and one governor-appointed director.
  • High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (UWCD) No. 1, created in 1951, was the first GCD in Texas.
  • The smallest GCD, Red Sands GCD, covers an area of about 114 square miles. The largest GCD, High Plains UWCD No. 1, covers an area of about 11,940 square miles.
  • Confirmed GCDs (excluding the two subsidence districts) are located partially or fully within 173 of 254 Texas counties.
  • GCDs cover nearly 70 percent of the area of the state.
  • There are 60 single-county GCDs in Texas, and 38 that cover more than one county.
  • While 96 of the 98 GCDs overlie a major aquifer, only 65 of these districts overlie a minor aquifer.
  • Approximately 72 percent of major and minor aquifers are overlain by a GCD.
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