After groundwater conservation districts set the desired future condition for an aquifer, a legally defined interest in groundwater can petition a district challenging the reasonableness of that future condition. A desired future condition is a management goal that impacts how much water can be pumped from an aquifer. In the first round of setting desired future conditions, those petitions came to the Texas Water Development Board for a decision by the Board (after which the Board’s decision was reviewed by the districts). For the second round, the petition goes to the district and then before an administrative law judge (after which it goes to the district’s board for review).
So far, for the second round of desired future conditions, there have been two petitions, both against the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District: the cities of Conroe and Magnolia filed one and Quadvest, L.P., a water provider in Montgomery County, filed the other. Because of similarities, the judge consolidated the two petitions into one hearing.
The petition had been in discovery and was a day from going before the administrative law judge when, according to an article in The Courier, Conroe, Magnolia, and the district came to a settlement. The article doesn’t say if Quadvest was part of the settlement (but it probably was). Also unclear at this time are the terms of the settlement. Because desired future conditions are decided by groundwater conservation districts in a groundwater management area, the Lone Star District has limited options for changing the current desired future condition.
These petitions were interesting for several reasons, but a big reason for the interest was that they were the first to go through the process after the legislature changed it.
List of documents for the case [unfortunately, only the first page of materials is included fro each item]