Lubbock-Based Water District Closer to Adding Briscoe Co. Over Landowner Objections

- LUBBOCK, TX -- Despite protests from landowners, state regulators have brought the western portion of Briscoe County one step closer to falling under the jurisdiction of the Lubbock-based High Plains Underground Water Conservation District. 

On December 10, commissioners with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality voted in favor of an administrative judge’s ruling in favor of adding Briscoe County to the HPWD. But officials with the water district said last week that the decision is not yet final. 

Last week, a spokesman with the HPWD said, “The District’s board of directors will have 120 days (after the date the District receives the copy of the order) to vote on the addition of the [priority groundwater management] territory to the District and to advise the TCEQ of the outcome of the vote.”

Eleven landowners filed a protest with the administrative law judge but the protest was over-ruled. Among other things, the landowners will have to pay property taxes to support the HPWD. Additionally, the HPWD will have the power to limit groundwater usage.

The conflict started in October of 2013 when the TCEQ Executive Director filed a report that identified portions of Briscoe, Hale, and Swisher Counties that should be listed as a priority groundwater management area because the area has or likely will suffer critical groundwater shortages. 

Briscoe County had no water district and the TCEQ believed extending the territory of the HPWD into the western half of Briscoe County was the most feasible solution. 

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