Water well screening to take place May 3 and 4

Groundwater Conservation board explores options to improve Lobo area groundwater recharge

By Shanna Cummings

The Texas Well Owner Network (TWON) “Well Informed” water well program will hold a water well screening event on May 3 and 4. Participation costs $10 and includes a container kit for the well water sample, screening process, as well as a one-hour explanation of screening results, water well protection practices, and recommendations for remediating well contamination. Email registration is required.

TWON will screen for common contaminants such as fecal coliform, bacteria, nitrates and high salinity.

Interested well owners need to pick up sample container kits at either the Culberson County Extension office (300 La Caverna, Van Horn) or the Culberson County Groundwater Conservation District office (1300 W Broadway, Van Horn) prior to May 3 and return them between 8:30 and 10:00 am on May 3 for screening in the mobile screening unit. Samples must be taken from wells no earlier than 24 hours before the collection date.

An in-person meeting for results and interpretation and remediation recommendations will take place May 4 at 5:00 pm at the El Capitan meeting room (100 E Broadway). Results can also be obtained via distance tech.

A presentation about rainwater harvesting will follow the in-person meeting. For more information, call the Culberson County Groundwater Conservation District office at 432-283-1584 or the Culberson County Extension Office at 432-283-8440.

Lobo Water Management Area

The Culberson County Groundwater Conservation District (CCGCD) continues to seek solutions to the dwindling groundwater level in the Lobo Water Management Area, impacting both small domestic wells and larger wells from ranches and farms in that area.

CCGCD general manager Summer Webb explained the results of a recent meeting with Lobo area landowners to discuss concerns and possible next steps.

“Obviously the concern is the aquafer and where we’re at as far as our depth,” Webb said. Landowners also expressed concern about further curtailing and the effect of pumping taking place from neighboring Jeff Davis County, she added.

Possible actions identified during the meeting with landowners include updated modeling, an evaluation of Desired Future Conditions (DFC) for Lobo looking at the past three years, looking into the impact of pumping from Antelope Valley, and performing a Scope of Recharge study for Lobo WMA, which may help determine if any recharge from Wild Horse Flat aquifer comes from Lobo. 

“I think there’s a lot of science to be done,” Webb said. She also mentioned working with the National Resources Conservation Service for rainwater holding ponds, flood and brush control measures to enhance recharge rates.

Board member Lacey Koehn, who also attended the meeting, added, “The biggest concern is, are we doing what we can to preserve what we have? And the next biggest concern is what’s going to happen with the Tiguas?” The Tigua tribe owns land in the Lobo area and has just recently begun pumping.

The board approved Webb’s request to move forward with the identified projects. “Obviously these are expensive, and it’s not necessarily a budgeted line item, and we don’t have a total price for it yet, because these are multiple projects,” she added.

The process will include monthly reports to the CCGCD board and working with landowners in Lobo Valley to address impacts on both domestic and agricultural wells, as well as discuss ideas.