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The Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District has spent the past 10 months developing dozens of amendments to its rulebook to modernize and streamline groundwater management policy in Burnet County. A public hearing on the proposed changes will be held during the district’s board meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 27, at 225 S. Pierce St. in Burnet.

The amendments vary in significance from minor changes involving the definitions of “large” and “small” wells to the doubling of fines for over-pumping during a drought. All of the changes can be viewed on the groundwater district’s website.

The changes developed through collaboration among volunteer Burnet County stakeholders, district General Manager Mitchell Sodek, multiple engineering firms hired to conduct studies on the county’s groundwater, and the five directors on the district’s board.

According to board President Ryan Rowney, the amendments are necessary to accommodate the ongoing drought in Central Texas and rapid population growth in Burnet County.

“We’re trying to manage our groundwater resources as best as we can with the resources we have,” he told “Growth is ongoing, so that means we need to be really proactive, and our rules weren’t quite aligned with where we needed them to be with the drought.”

Burnet County has been under Stage 4 drought conditions, the most severe on the groundwater district’s scale, since June 2022. The district imposed its first-ever mandatory groundwater use restrictions in December 2022 and renewed them in December 2023.

The 11 stakeholders who participated in the policy development were volunteers chosen from a wide range of demographics in the county based on their specific interests or geographic location. This included representatives from agriculture, mining, conservation, construction, and residential.