Water

BELTON — Local residents were given the chance to comment on future changes to planned water levels Wednesday afternoon.

Board members of the Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District met to give residents of the district the opportunity to comment on the proposed Desired Future Conditions for ground water and springs. The future conditions looked at three layers of the Trinity Aquifer and stream flow at the Edwards Aquifer.

The conditions are a part of a larger set of proposed updates being made to the Desired Future Conditions of Groundwater Management Area 8, which Clearwater is a part of.

Dirk Aaron, general manager for the district, said the state allows for 90 days of public comments by residents. The comments timeframe started on Nov. 5 and will end on Feb. 3.

“The groundwater conservation districts then compile all of the relevant comments that we receive from constituents and we get them back to the groundwater management area,” Aaron said. “The process is very open. They review all the comments and then they adopt the final desired future conditions, if they look like they do today may or may not happen.”

The Desired Future Conditions for the portion of the Edwards Aquifer requires that the stream-flow into Salado Creek be maintained at least 100 acre-feet of water per month during a drought.

Aaron said the district has currently measured the flow of water into the creek to be at about 2,000 acre-feet of water per month.

The conditions also set the drawdown — the change in groundwater level due to applied stress caused by events such as pumping from a well — for three layers of the Trinity Aquifer.

By 2080, the proposed conditions state the drawdown for the Glen Rose layer of the aquifer should not exceed 83 feet,  the Hensell layer should not exceed approximately 145 feet and the Hosston Layer should not exceed about 375 feet.

Ty Embrey, an attorney with Lloyd Gosselink Attorney at Law, said the Clearwater district works together with the 10 other districts in Ground Water Area 8 to maintain these conditions.

This groundwater management area process “enables districts to regulate what is going on in their local communities while at the same time working together with other people in their region to make sure there is a comprehensive regional approach to ground water,” Embrey said.

 “It is very science-oriented … just because one district wants their desired future conditions to be super high and one wants it to be super low, you still have to work with the science and the model has to work,” he said.

No one commented online or in-person during Wednesday’s board meeting.