Pineywoods Groundwater Conservation District protects East Texas' underground water

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Pineywoods Groundwater Conservation District is assigned by the state legislature to protect the underground water supplies in Angelina and Nacogdoches counties.

This means it's important to keep a close watch on the number and location of water wells.

Jackie Risner, the district general manager for the Pineywoods Groundwater Conservation, District has an office, but he gets a lot accomplished over a pick up bed talking directly to water well drillers. They, along with the property owner, play an important role in the water well application process. Risner double checks the findings.

"I go to that site and register a latitude and longitude so that we can record it on our maps and I can look and make sure that you're not going to drill a well that might affect a neighbor's well and vice versa to protect your right to use your groundwater."

The information is crucial to protecting water supplies and rights. Detailed maps of aquifers flowing through Nacogdoches and Angelina counties illustrate the vital water supply.  Over time, keeping up with those tapped wells is a challenge.

"Properties that are changing hands," Risner said. "And properties that change hands with a well on it the new owner of that property needs to contact us so that we can make the changes to our records about who then owns that well."

Another concern are abandoned wells. The district wants to know where they are.

"It's a safety issue," Risner said. "I've known of people who walked into those wells unbeknownst to them, not knowing that they're there. That's a direct conduit into our groundwater so anything from a surface runoff can contaminate the groundwater. We need to know where those are and get them plugged."

The district's residents and the board of directors establish the rules. The belief is local management leads to the protection of local groundwater.

The Pineywoods Groundwater Conservation District has a Website full of valuable information. There's even a "Kid's Corner" education resource.

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