Brackish Groundwater Production Zones
In 2015, the 84th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 30, directing the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to (1) identify and designate brackish groundwater production zones in the state, (2) determine the volumes of groundwater that a brackish groundwater production zone can produce over 30- and 50-year periods without causing significant impact to water availability or water quality, (3) make recommendations on reasonable monitoring to observe the effects of brackish groundwater production within the zone, (4) work with groundwater conservation districts and stakeholders in general, and (5) provide a summary of brackish groundwater production zone designations in the biennial report due December 1 of each even-numbered year. Furthermore, the TWDB had to designate brackish groundwater production zones in four specific aquifers by December 1, 2016, and the remaining aquifers in the state by December 1, 2022. Funding was also provided in Rider 26 in House Bill 1 by the 84th Texas Legislature to implement House Bill 30, but state funds were reduced in June 2017.
In 2019, the 86th Texas Legislature restored funding for the BRACS Program with the passage of Rider 24 in House Bill 1, which appropriated $2 million to the TWDB for contract and administrative costs to support designation of brackish groundwater production zones in aquifers of the state, excluding the Dockum Aquifer. The 86th Texas Legislature also passed Senate Bill 1041 that extended the deadline to complete zone designations from December 1, 2022, to December 1, 2032, and House Bill 722 that established a permitting framework for developing water supplies from TWDB-designated brackish groundwater productions zones.
Future TWDB Zone Evaluations
|Aquifer Study||Study Completion Date||Type||Notes|
|Wilcox, Carrizo, Queen City, Sparta, and Yegua aquifers, Central Texas||12/2020||In-house||-|
|Queen City and Sparta aquifers, South Texas||NA||Contractor||-|
|Brackish Groundwater in the Gulf Coast Aquifer, Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas||09/2014||In-house||-|
|Pecos Valley Aquifer, West Texas: Structure and Brackish Groundwater||06/2012||In-house||-|
Brackish Groundwater Production Zone Amendment Guidance
- March 22, 2023 - Stakeholder feedback meeting: The TWDB discussed the updated brackish groundwater production zone amendment document. A recording of the meeting is available below.
2020 Rules related to Brackish Groundwater Production Zones
- Board Meeting: The Board considered adopting amendments 31 Texas Administrative Code 356 related to designating brackish groundwater production zones at the board meeting held on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.
- Board Meeting: The Board considered publishing proposed amendments 31 Texas Administrative Code 356 relating to brackish groundwater production zones at the board meeting held on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.
2019 Brackish Groundwater Production Zone Designations
- Brackish Groundwater Production Zone Recommendations for the Blossom Aquifer, Texas
- Brackish Groundwater Production Zone Recommendations for the Nacatoch Aquifer, Texas
- Identification of Potential Brackish Groundwater Production Areas - Northern Trinity Aquifer
- Brackish Groundwater in the Lipan Aquifer Area, Texas
- Board Meeting: The Board considered designating brackish groundwater production zones for the Blossom, Lipan, Nacatoch, and Northern Trinity aquifers at the board meeting held on Thursday, March 28, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. at Stephen F. Austin Building in Room 170 located at 1700 N. Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701.
2016 Brackish Groundwater Production Zone Designations
- TWDB Evaluations:
- Board Meeting: The Board designated brackish groundwater production zones for House Bill 30 projects at the board meeting held on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. at Stephen F. Austin Building in Room 170 located at 1700 N. Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701.
- Stakeholder Meeting: Stakeholder meeting on potential production areas for the Carrizo-Wilcox, Gulf Coast, Blaine, and Rustler aquifers held on Friday, September 9, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. at Stephen F. Austin Building in Room 170 located at 1700 N. Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78701.
- Draft Reports Posted: Email announcement to notify stakeholders that draft reports were posted on our website and provide them an opportunity to review the preliminary study findings and evaluation of potential production areas.
- Board Meeting: Approval of Projects to Study Brackish Aquifers in Texas, TWDB, Austin, TX, January 2016.
- Stakeholder Meeting: House Bill 30 Stakeholder Meeting, Texas Water Development Board, Austin, Texas, October 2015.
- Presentation: House Bill 30 Stakeholder Meeting
- Video: House Bill 30 Stakeholder Meeting
- Download House Bill 30 Stakeholder Meeting Video (185MB)
- Download House Bill 30 Stakeholder Meeting Caption
- Stakeholder Comments Part 1 of 2 (as of 2/18/2016)
- Stakeholder Comments Part 2 of 2 (as of 2/18/2016)
- Meeting Announcement: Request for Public Input on Brackish Groundwater Production Zones, October 26, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 170 of the Stephen F. Austin Building, 1700 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas.
- Board Meeting: Authorization to Publish a Request for Qualifications to Study Brackish Aquifers in Texas and Execute an Interagency Contract TWDB, Austin, Texas, October 13, 2015.