The High Plains Underground Water Conservation District has scheduled a series of public meetings in February and March to receive public comments regarding the setting of desired future conditions for the Ogallala aquifer within Groundwater Management Areas 1 & 2.

The meeting dates and locations are as follows:

· February 11: Plains Cotton Cooperative Association (PCCA) Board Room, 3301 E. 50th Street, Lubbock.

· February 25: Sundown Room, South Plains College Student Center, 1400 College Avenue, Levelland.

· February 28: Bailey County Coliseum, 2206 W. American Boulevard, Muleshoe.

· March 4: Floyd County Friends Unity Center, Hwy 70 and FM 786, Muncy.

All meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. and are expected to end at 9:30 p.m.

According to High Plains Water District officials, setting desired future conditions for aquifers could be the most important challenge groundwater conservation districts in Texas have faced. Therefore, they encourage all interested persons to attend this meeting to learn more about the process and offer comments.

"As a result of House Bill 1763 passed by the Texas Legislature in 2005 and codified as Chapter 36.108 of the Texas Water Code, water conservation districts within their respective groundwater management area(s) are required to work together to determine and agree upon a desired future condition for groundwater within their respective groundwater management area," said General Manager Jim Conkwright.

For example, one water district may decide to set a future condition which allows 50 percent of the groundwater in storage in their aquifer to be available for use 50 years from now. In other portions of the state, other water districts may be more concerned about managing groundwater to ensure adequate spring flow.

"After the desired future condition is set, the water districts deliver their information to the Texas Water Development Board in Austin (TWDB). The TWDB, in turn, provides estimates of managed available groundwater to the districts for use in their groundwater management plans and to the regional water planning groups for use in their regional water plan," Conkwright said.

Water conservation districts are required to reconsider desired future conditions every five years.

"The High Plains Water District's board of directors believes that it is important to set an initial desired future condition that both agricultural producers and municipalities can work with. Once set, the desired future condition will influence how water districts manage groundwater within their respective areas," Conkwright said.

Additional information about the desired future conditions process is available by contacting Conkwright at (806) 762-0181 or at the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District web site at www.hpwd.com