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Usage conditions for groundwater conservation district could change

Texas Groundwater Management Area 8

A map of the boundaries for Groundwater District Management Area 8, which includes Burnet County. Courtesy image

Burnet County is well below the proposed budgeted levels on all of its aquifers and can handle additional wells, according to Mitchell Sodek, general manager of the Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District. The district’s board is expected to vote on the adoption of “desired future conditions” of seven local aquifers during its 1 p.m. meeting Tuesday, Oct. 18. 

The vote takes place every five years and determines the budgeted use of groundwater in Burnet County.

“This is large-scale water planning,” Sodek said. “Do we have 1,000 acre-feet or do we have 100,000 acre-feet of availability? Those are the types of scales we want to know as far as availability goes.”

Desired future conditions (DFCs) are based upon five years of data collection and are submitted to the Texas Water Development Board for approval. If approved, the Groundwater Conservation District board will vote on the proposed DFCs and use them to manage the county’s groundwater for the near future.

Drawdown levels are determined by computer-generated models that use the average levels of the aquifers to determine safe amounts of water that can be pulled from them. 

Sodek compared DFCs to a checking account with a specific balance and the various wells in Burnet County as expenses. It is the job of the district to not go into debt, he said.

The numbers are adjusted every five years, but they reflect groundwater management predictions 50 years into the future.


All are for 2010 through 2080. 

The average drawdown of the:

  • Glen Rose layer should not exceed approximately 2 feet
  • Travis Peak layer should not exceed approximately 19 feet
  • Hensell layer should not exceed 7 feet
  • Hosston layer should not exceed 21 feet
  • Ellenburger-San Saba Aquifer should not exceed approximately 12 feet
  • Hickory Aquifer should not exceed approximately 11 feet
  • Marble Falls Aquifer should not exceed approximately 11 feet

The district manages the groundwater of Burnet County, which is part of Groundwater Management Area 8. This area is roughly defined by the Colorado River in the west and south and the Red River in the north.

The Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District board meeting is open to the public at district offices, 225 S. Pierce St. in Burnet.