Frequently Asked Questions

Why was the Prairielands GCD created?

The Prairielands GCD was created in response to a finding by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that groundwater shortages were expected in Ellis, Hill, Johnson and Somervell counties over the next 25 years. The TCEQ finding required local residents to create a groundwater conservation district, or else TCEQ would mandate one. Enabling legislation for the Prairielands GCD was passed in 2009.

Where is the Prairielands GCD located?

The Prairielands GCD is located in the north prairies of Texas, covering Ellis, Hill, Johnson and Somervell counties. The District spans 2,870 square miles and overlays the Trinity Aquifer.

How is the Board of Directors appointed?

Members of the board are appointed by the county commissioners in Ellis, Hill, Johnson and Somervell counties. The board consists of 8 directors, 2 from each of the 4 counties. Initial board-member terms are staggered 2 and 4 years, followed by 4-year terms.

How does the District manage groundwater?

The Prairielands GCD seeks to balance the needs of all groundwater users with the requirements of a sustainable aquifer. The District operates in a fair and equitable manner through a management plan and rules. They are designed to prevent waste, collect data, plan for future resources, and educate people about water conservation and aquifer protection.

How are District rules made and who is the District accountable to?

The Board of Directors adopted temporary rules on Nov. 15, 2010, at a public meeting. Permanent rules will be developed through an open and transparent process including public comments, formal hearings and board approval. Permanent rules are expected to be finalized after detailed scientific analysis of the aquifers is complete. The District is accountable to its constituents, elected officials and regulatory agencies.

Why do I need to register my well?

Well registration provides the District with data needed to preserve and protect groundwater resources, for current and future uses.  All wells drilled after April 1, 2011, must be registered - those exempt from metering and fee payment as well as those subject to metering and fee payment.

Wells exempt from metering and fee payment cannot produce more than 25 gallons per minute of water, or are used solely for domestic, livestock or poultry purposes. Wells subject to metering and fee payment can produce more than 25 gallons of water per minute, individually or as a system, and are used for any purpose other than domestic, livestock or poultry usage.

How does the District protect my property values?

The District protects property values by preserving the quantity and quality of groundwater for future generations. Groundwater below landowners’ property is protected from neighboring landowners who could drain all their groundwater without a GCD in place.

How is the District funded?

The District is funded through fees that are authorized in its enabling legislation. The fees are as follows:

  • Water well registration

  • Registration Fee - $250, non-refundable

  • Report Deposit -  $200 refundable

  • Groundwater Use Fee - $0.20 per 1,000 gallons of water

  • Groundwater Transport Fee - 50% export surcharge on groundwater transported outside of the District

 How does the Prairielands GCD use its revenues?

All District revenues go toward its operations, as board members serve without pay.

 District operations include the following activities:

  • Registering water wells

  • Conducting scientific and technical research on groundwater resources

  • Educating the public about groundwater issues

  • Responding to concerns and questions from the public and local/state officials

  • Developing and enforcing a management plan and rules

Facts about Prairielands Groundwater Conservation District