Friday, July 31, 2015

Past Board Members Honored at Latest PGCD Board Meeting

Thursday, July 30, the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District (PGCD) honored past board members Billy Van Crawford and Steve Hale for their dedication and service to the PGCD Board.
(Left to right: Billy Van Crawford, Steve Hale, and John R. Spearman, Jr. (current PGCD Board Director)

Billy Van Crawford receiving his plaque from John R. Spearman, Jr.

John R. Spearman, Jr. presenting Steve Hale with his plaque.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Year to Date Rainfall

(Pictured is this year's year to date average rainfall. Data is collected from the PGCD rain gauge program.)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Ogallala Aquifer Water Level Measurements

Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District takes measurements on a network of 800+ wells throughout the District each year to determine yearly aquifer changes in water levels. The measurements are taken not only to determine the water level in the aquifer, but also to collect data, provide information for future planning and to determine IRS depletion allowances.

The winter water level measurements play a critical role in in gauging our compliance with the 50/50 goal, to have 50 percent of the water remaining in the aquifer 50 years from now, by allowing us to monitor the decline of saturated thickness in the aquifer over the past year.

Knowing the amount of decline drives enforcement of study areas in places where water levels have dropped below the allowed annual 1.25 percent of saturated thickness. When study areas go into place, the landowner is notified and water use is monitored more frequently by the District. If the decline levels improve it can come out of a study area, however, if decline continues to exceed the allowable limit, the study area could be designated a conservation area by the District which may result in reductions of the maximum annual production rate.

Depth to water level measurements shown in the publication (see link below) were taken from November 2014 to February 2015. The measurements are taken during these winter months when demands for irrigation are lower so that a more representative static water level can be obtained. Every effort is made to capture this measurement when levels have recovered or stabilized.

As for next year, water level measurements should show a positive impact on aquifer declines because of significantly reduced pumping due to recent rains. Some decline will still occur however, but hopefully not as much as in years past. Recharge of aquifers due to surface precipitation will not be realized for decades and in the big picture is negligible. The aquifer is like a big bank account but if you are putting pennies in and taking dollar bills out the bank account will diminish. Conservation is still and will always be a priority even with the improved conditions.