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HPWD water level measurements see average decline of -1.05 feet


An average change of -1.05 feet was noted in the groundwater levels of the Ogallala/Edwards-Trinity (High Plains) Aquifer from 2018 to 2019 within the 16-county High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD).

The 10-year District average change (2009-2019) is -8.83 feet while the five-year District average change (2014-2019) is -2.13 feet. The average saturated thickness of the Ogallala/Edwards-Trinity (High Plains) Aquifer within the District is 56 feet (2018-2019). It remained unchanged from last year.

HPWD staff shared final results of the 2019 water level measurements with the District’s five-member Board of Directors at their April 9 meeting.

Beginning in January, HPWD field personnel made water level measurements in a network of 1,356 privately-owned water wells completed into the Ogallala/Edwards-Trinity (High Plains) Aquifer. In addition, measurements were also made in 31 Dockum Aquifer wells.

County wide average declines were recorded in 15 of the 16 counties in the District since the 2018 measurements.

“This can probably be attributed to the fact that the area received about half the rainfall in 2018 as it did in 2017. A large amount of irrigation was needed up until the time that it rained toward the end of the growing season,” said HPWD Field Technician Supervisor Keith Whitworth.

Whitworth shared the following statistics for observation wells with publishable measurements.

234 observation wells with increases ranging from 0.1 to 5.41 feet.
518 observation wells with decreases ranging from 0 to -.99 of a foot.
279 observation wells with decreases ranging from – 1 to -1.99 feet.
173 observation wells with decreases ranging from -2 to -2.99 feet.
58 observation wells with decreases ranging from -3 to -3.99 feet.
26 observation wells with decreases ranging from -4 to -4.99 feet.
29 observation wells with decreases ranging from -5 to -12.98 feet. 

“Each year, there are wells that show water level rises and others that show water level declines. The largest water level rise was 5.41 feet in a Lynn County well and the largest water level decline was -12.98 feet in a Floyd County well,” Whitworth said. “Groundwater recharge occurs quickly in Lynn County due to sandier soils and a shallow water table. The area in Floyd County where the large decline is shown takes much longer to recover from the previous irrigation season,” he said.

Results of the 2019 water level measurements and updated saturated thickness information are now available on the interactive map on the HPWD website (map.hpwd.org).  Those who want printed information should contact Jed Leibbrandt at (806) 762-0181 or email him at jed.leibbrandt@hpwd.org. He can provide print copies of water level measurement data for an individual county or specific counties of interest.

Created in 1951 by local residents and the Texas Legislature, the High Plains Water District works to conserve, preserve, protect, and prevent the waste of underground water within its 16-county service area. HPWD is the first groundwater conservation district created in Texas.

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