What do Groundwater Users Want? Desired Future Conditions for Groundwater in the Texas Hill Country

This report examines the changing methodology of groundwater management in Texas by studying the manner in which one Groundwater Management Area (GMA 9 in the Texas Hill Country) complied with new legislative mandates passed in 2005. Texas House Bill (HB) 1763 introduced several changes to groundwater management in Texas. There are 16 groundwater management areas (GMAs) composed of groundwater conservation districts (GCDs), whose boundaries roughly coincide with major Texas aquifers. HB 1763 directed GMAs to define "desired future conditions" (DFCs) within their respective aquifers to be used for future planning purposes. Regional water planning groups are directed to consider each GCD’s "managed available groundwater" (MAG) in their water planning. This report summarizes the activities and findings of a two-semester graduate course entitled "Groundwater Management in Texas" conducted jointly between the Jackson School of Geosciences and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Student researchers conducted stakeholder interviews, observed public meetings, and conducted groundwater modeling to assist GMA 9 in developing DFCs for the Trinity Hill Country Aquifer. This project was funded in part by the IC² Institute.