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Llano County digs into groundwater regulations for new developments

Llano County Commissioners Court, Sept. 11, 2023

The Llano County Commissioners Court is considering adding regulations to the county’s subdivision rules that would require developers provide proof of groundwater availability before they get the green light to build. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Developers of new subdivisions in Llano County might be required to prove enough groundwater is available in the county’s aquifers to service homes before they are built. 

The Llano County Commissioners Court set an Oct. 23 public hearing to discuss including Texas Local Government Code 232.032 in the county’s subdivision regulations. If the order is approved, developers would have to meet Texas Commission on Environmental Quality groundwater availability certification requirements on plats they submit to commissioners. 

The hearing’s time and location were not available by the time of this story’s publication. Details will be announced in a public notice in a local newspaper prior to the hearing.

The proposed order would be a huge leap in regulating power for the county. The rules would specifically apply to subdivisions requesting to use groundwater to supply homes within their boundaries. Individual well users and those seeking to use surface water would not be affected.

The Commissioners Court unanimously approved the hearing of the order as read by Precinct 2 Commissioner Linda Raschke. The court also authorized the county attorney to conduct an impact study on the order’s implementation.

“Llano County doesn’t have a groundwater district,” Raschke said during the court’s regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 11. “We’re in a perilous situation, so this is just an order adding (it to the subdivision regulations).”

A groundwater district, such as the Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District in Burnet County, is a taxing entity with the authority to monitor and maintain groundwater in a certain area.