2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 32
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM

The Use of GIS in a Groundwater Conservation District

YELDERMAN Jr, Joe C. and BYARS, Bruce, Geology, Baylor University, One Bear Place #97354, Waco, TX 76798, Joe_Yelderman@baylor.edu

Texas is a state with a growing population, large areas of moderate rainfall and limited sites well suited for reservoir construction. For these and other reasons much of rural Texas depends upon groundwater for its water supply. As the demand for water increases, the need for groundwater management will also increase.

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.