Groundwater planning in Texas: paradigm shifts and implications for the future
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Senate Bill 1 and HB 1763 have greatly changed Texas water planning. With SB1 the planning process became a bottom-up approach that allowed 16 regional water planning groups (RWPGs) to create a plan that would be combined to form the state plan. Then in 2005, HB 1763 gave groundwater conservation districts (GCDs) the authority to determine groundwater availability instead of regions. The purpose of this research is to explore the overall impact of the regional planning process and how the change in groundwater availability determination will affect regional water planning. The findings of this research can serve as a guide for legislative changes to improve the process. This is crucial if Texas expects to meet the needs of a doubled population in less than 50 years. In order to collect opinions from water planners across Texas, a survey was sent to all 322 members of the 16 RWPGs. Also, all 72 members from 10 Groundwater Conservation Districts (GCDs) were selected in Region G. All statements were based on a Likert Scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The modified Dillman procedure was used with a response rate of 57%. Independent t-tests and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were used to measure differences between regions, interest groups, and level of experience. Overall respondents agreed that water issue awareness, communication, and regional project support improved except for reservoirs and transfers. Also all thought GCDs were the most appropriate entity to lead groundwater planning and believed that the new process would result in greater resource protection. Several statements in the survey resulted in high levels of uncertainty. This suggests that water planning for water user groups whose future supplies are from groundwater should carefully consider broadening their strategies both in terms of quantities and sources to take this uncertainty into account.
Kelly, Vanessa Christine (2007). Groundwater planning in Texas: paradigm shifts and implications for the future. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from