JOIN US IN OPPOSING INCREASED GROUNDWATER PUMPING. AFTER YOU READ THE PETITITION, SIGN YOUR NAME AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD. TOWNSHIPFUTURE WILL DELIVER THE PETITION AND SIGNATURES ELECTRONICALLY AND IN HARDCOPY TO GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREA 14 AND LONESTAR GROUNDWATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT.
To Groundwater Management Area 14:
We, the undersigned, are concerned about the Lonestar Groundwater Conservation District’s (LSGCD) desire to change Desired Future Conditions (DFC) to allow increased groundwater pumping. We oppose increasing groundwater pumping for the following five reasons:
- Conflicting opinions on what pumping is sustainable without causing harm
- Subsidence cannot be reversed and will contribute to more flooding
- Subsidence causes disturbances in fault lines
- More groundwater pumpage will increase water rates to those that rely more on surface water
- There is more than enough surface water to meet water demand
The fact that there are conflicting findings and opinions on the impact of increased groundwater pumping is reason enough to disallow yet more pumping at this time.
The desire of LSGCD to exclude subsidence in defining a new DFC is another reason to disallow increased groundwater pumping.
Experts agree that subsidence is permanent and cannot be reversed. Also, most experts agree that there is a correlation between subsidence and declines in aquifer water levels.
Studies by the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) and the Woodlands Water Agency (WWA) show that between 1980 and 2015, well levels declined by 260 to 350 feet among the 15 wells that supply water to The Woodlands. Since 2015 when SJRA begin mixing 65 percent surface water with 35 percent groundwater, well levels rose by almost 100 feet within a year. Further measurements show that well levels are relatively stable if the percentage of groundwater pumpage is no more than 50 percent of current water demand.
Subsidence of over two feet feet has occurred in South Montgomery County between 2000 and 2015 and about 3.5 feet in NW Harris County (Creekside) between 1974 and 2015. This subsidence cannot be attributable to any other cause than reductions in aquifer water levels.
Hundreds of homes in the Spring Creek watershed in south Montgomery County and northwest Harris County flooded with less than one foot of water once to multiple times over the last six years. None of these homes where subsidence occurred would have flooded had subsidence not occurred. Further subsidence will increase the number of homes at risk for future flooding.
Surface displacements and property damage has occurred along fault lines that run through The Woodlands and other parts of Montgomery County. Experts generally agree that subsidence changes stress levels along fault lines, resulting in differential movements which can damage property. This is yet one more reason why aquifer water levels must be stabilized or, better, increased.
Allowing increased groundwater pumping will increase water rates to those that use surface water. By reducing the use of surface water, the fixed cost of operating the surface water treatment plant at Lake Conroe and delivery infrastructure will be spread over fewer users. Further, reductions in aquifer levels will create both a capital need to modify or replace wells to pump from greater depths and increase the cost of pumping from these lower depths.
The Lake Conroe surface water treatment plant and delivery infrastructure is operating far below capacity. Since plenty of surface water is available, it doesn’t make sense to increase groundwater pumping with all the negative risks noted above. The incremental cost to supply surface water is modest and an insufficient reason to increase groundwater pumping. LSGCD should not undermine the plant’s intended purpose but, instead, should, take responsibility to support its use.
WE THE UNDERSIGNED ASK THAT GMA 14 DO NOT ALLOW CHANGES TO LSGCD’S PROPOSED DFC THAT ALLOWS FOR RECKLESS DEPLETION OF AQUIFER LEVELS IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY.