The Use of GIS in a Groundwater Conservation District
Currently the preferred method of groundwater management in Texas is through individual Groundwater Conservation Districts. The lack of a more comprehensive statewide management system is partly the result of public distrust of government and a history of individualism and strong private property rights. These Groundwater Conservation Districts offer local or regional control of groundwater management which is usually preferred over statewide regulations.
The Texas legislature recently passed several bills that have had the effect of increasing the formation of new groundwater conservation districts. The governing boards of these districts seldom contain hydrogeologists or groundwater engineers thereby creating a significant need for education about local aquifers and well hydraulics. In addition, the districts must be confirmed by a public vote. Because the problems and solutions are spatial in nature and often complex in concept, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are perfectly suited to help groundwater professionals communicate with the public and the decision makers. This study shows examples of how geovisualization and GIS can help groundwater managers make better decisions and communicate complex ideas to a large number of people with varied backgrounds.