By Edna Clark
This unsettling news was presented to the Culberson County Groundwater Conservation District (CCGCD) during its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, October 12. Measurements to determine the Lobo Aquifer water levels were taken in water wells located near the center of the Lobo Valley. The water level has declined 3 acre feet since 2015.
Dr. Al Blair presented the annual Lobo Aquifer assessment to District members and related the primary factors considered in the assessment. Those factors are the amount of irrigated land; the estimated volume of water pumped by crop; the metered volume of pumped water; water level changes; comparisons of DFCs; and the measured rates.
An aquifer is an underground storehouse of Earth’s water and is depended upon by people all over the world for their daily lives. In areas such as the Lobo Valley in West Texas, such a decline in the water levels can be catastrophic if corrective measures are not taken to allow refilling of the aquifer.
Recent rains that have fallen will help; however, the rain water must filter through rock layers to reach the aquifer. That process, according to General Manager Summer Webb, can take years to take effect. Ms. Webb will be reaching out to landowners and consumers of the Lobo Aquifer for assistance in making changes to prevent the aquifer’s running dry.
In other business, after public hearings, the District approved a settlement that had been reached between Forrest Perry and George Strickhausen and other parties. Perry had previously petitioned the district in HUPP004A for an increase in water use in the Wildhorse Flat Aquifer district. Strickhausen and parties had filed protests to prevent the increase. The agreement will allow Perry to produce groundwater at a rate of 2200 gallons per minute and a total of 125 acre feet annually for Municipal and Industrial Use from the Wildhorse Flat Aquifer.
Susan Strasser petitioned the District for out of district groundwater to be sold to various road repair companies. Mrs. Webb advised the District that Ms. Strasser’s application was administratively complete; however, Ms. Strasser does not have signed contracts with potential customers. Dr. Blair and the District advised that individual signed contracts must be presented before her request would be approved. No more than 25 acre feet of groundwater is to be used annually for her enterprise; otherwise, public hearing procedures must be followed.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the CCGCD and Ms. Strasser’s public hearing, if necessary, will be held on November 09, 2016.