Region O - Llano Estacado
2005 Regional Water Plan Overview
|Total Water Use: 2000||4,530,041 Acre-Feet|
|Total Water Use: 2060||3,704,336 Acre-Feet|
|Primary Rivers||Red, Brazos, Colorado|
|Major Aquifers||Ogallala, Seymour|
|Annual Precipitation||16-24 Inches|
|Net Evaporation||52-64 Inches|
Basic Plan Facts
- Population growth in Region O is projected to be moderate
- Total capital cost of proposed water supply measures: not available
- One new reservoir proposed: Post Reservoir
What's at Issue?
This region is unique in that it is one of only two region whose water demand is expected to decrease over the planning period. While the population is projected to increase slightly, a decline in agricultural activity is expected over the 50-year planning period. Groundwater resources in the region have not been managed sustainably and future generations may not have reasonable access to groundwater. The Plan proposes a 50 percent rate of decline from existing aquifer levels over the next 50 years.
Despite the anticipated drop in the regional water demand, Region O has yet to identify and develop additional resources in order to compensate continued exhaustion of groundwater reserves in the region. This area does not have the luxury of abundant surface water resources to draw upon. In addition, many of the historical springs and spring-fed streams have ceased to flow due to increased pressure on the region's groundwater reserves. Some of the major strategies proposed to fulfill the region's water needs include precipitation enhancement; brush management; brackish groundwater desalination; and drilling additional municipal wells. Several municipal water strategies, including expanding the capacity of groundwater supply in the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority and constructing Post Reservoir, do not appear to have identified customers within the region.
Here are some of the items the Region O Planning Group must address.
Conservation and Drought Management
For conservation and drought management, the plan needs to...
- Implement Irrigation Water Conservation Strategies. The plan assumes that irrigation conservation is being practiced to the extent feasible, despite the fact that 720,000 additional acres are not irrigated with center pivots.
- Recognize the full potential for municipal conservation. The municipal conservation goal in the plan is the existing average of 172 gpcd (gallons per capita per day), well above the 140 gpcd recommended by the State Water Conservation Implementation Task Force.
- Incorporate drought management as a water management strategy. Not considering existing local statutory limitations on non-essential water use during times of drought inflates demands that can lead to an overemphasis on costly water projects.
To secure the protection of flows for fish and wildlife, the plan needs to...
- Evaluate alternative water supply strategies for effects on environmental flows. In addition, the plan must discuss how these flows are affected by current projects and existing water permits.
- Include additional information on how aquifer drawdown affects spring flows and the associated habitats. We commend the Region O for their inventory of springs and seeps.
- Designate stream segments in the region that meet the criteria as having "unique ecological value". No segments were designated in the 2006 regional plan. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recommends 3 segments for designation in this region.
To ensure that only the most economically sound water supply strategies are implemented, the plan needs to...
- Compare the costs and benefits of the supply alternatives for only those projects for which there is an identified need.