Recharge is the term used to describe how an aquifer gains water from the surface via precipitation, rivers, lakes, and streams, or from other subsurface aquifers. When an aquifer is recharging, groundwater levels rise to be closer to the ground surface, and artesian pressure generally increases. The Middle Trinity GCD is tracking recharge by using monitoring wells to record aquifer water levels.

Two of MTGCDıs counties, Comanche and Erath Counties, are in the outcrop of the Trinity Aquifer. The outcrop is also referred to as the recharge zone. This means that some of the geologic formations which store groundwater are oriented such that they intersect the ground surface in such a way that they are ıopen-endedı and can receive water from the surface. This is good news because the aquifer will recharge faster than non-outcrop, or down dip, areas.

The concept of storing excess water underground for later use is typically referred to as aquifer recharge enhancement or, more recently, aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). Aquifer recharge enhancement can include structures for infiltration enhancement or injection of water into aquifers. The use of artificial recharge to store surplus surface water underground can be expected to increase as growing populations demand more water, and as the number of good surface water reservoir sites still available for construction become fewer. There are several key advantages to aquifer recharge enhancement (ASR) over surface water reservoirs. They include:

                -Minimal Evaporation

                -Reduces Environmental Impacts

                -No Imposition of Eminent Domain

                -Reduced Construction Time

                -Reduced Construction Expense

                -ASR facility wonıt silt-up like a reservoir

We should expect ASR to become one of the sources of ınewı water to meet the demands of population growth.


What is Rainwater Harvesting?

Although close to three-fourths of our planet is made of water, not all of it is suitable for use. The water in the oceans and seas cannot be used as drinking water and little of it can be utilized for other purposes. As a result, there is a constant shortage of water that is either good for drinking or home and industrial use. Areas on the planet that have long faced water shortage were able to combat this problem by harvesting what little rainwater they received. This slowly started spreading to areas where there was plenty of rainfall. As a result, the modern day rainwater harvesting system was brought into place.

The idea behind the process is simple. Rainwater is collected when it falls on the earth, stored and utilized at a later point. It can be purified to make it into drinking water, used for daily applications and even utilized in large-scale industries. In short, Rainwater harvesting is a process or technique of collecting, filtering, storing and using rainwater for irrigation and for various other purposes.

To reduce the consumption of groundwater, many people around the world are using rainwater harvesting systems. This practice has been around for thousands of years and has been growing at a rapid pace. Till today, rainwater is used as a primary source of drinking water in several rural areas.  The best thing about rainwater is that it is free from pollutants as well as salts, minerals, and other natural and man-made contaminants. In areas where there is excess rainfall, the surplus rainwater can be used recharge groundwater through artificial recharge techniques.

In an urban setting, harvesting is usually done with the help of some infrastructure or The simplest method for a rainwater harvesting system is storage tanks. In this, a catchment area for the water is directly linked to cisterns, tanks, and reservoirs. Water can be stored here until needed or used on a daily basis. The roofs our homes are the best catchment areas, provided they are large enough to harvest daily water needs. Other than that, large bowls and tarps can also fulfill the function.

Advantages of Rainwater Harvesting

1. Easy to Maintain: Utilizing the rainwater harvesting system provides certain advantages to the community. First of all, harvesting rainwater allows us to better utilize an energy resource. It is important to do so since drinking water is not easily renewable and it helps in reducing wastage. Systems for the collection of rainwater are based on simple technology.

The overall cost of their installation and operation is much lesser than that of water purifying or pumping systems. Maintenance requires little time and energy. The result is the collection of water that can be used in substantial ways even without purification.

2. Reducing Water Bills: Water collected in the rainwater harvesting system can be put to use for several non-drinking functions as well. For many families and small businesses, this leads to a large reduction in their utility bill. On an industrial scale, harvesting rainwater can provide the needed amounts of water for many operations to take place smoothly without having to deplete the nearby water sources.

It also lessens the burden of soil erosion in a number of areas, allowing the land to thrive once again. In fact, it can also be stored in cisterns for use during times when water supplies are at an all-time low.

3. Suitable for Irrigation: As such, there is little requirement for building new infrastructure for the rainwater harvesting system. Most rooftops act as a workable catchment area, which can be linked to the harvesting system. This also lessens the impact on the environment by reducing the use of fuel-based machines.

Rainwater is free from many chemicals found in groundwater, making it suitable for irrigation and watering gardens. In fact, storing large reservoirs of harvested water is a great idea for areas where forest fires and bush fires are common during summer months.

4. Reduces Demand on Groundwater: With the increase in population, the demand for water is also continuously increasing. The end result is that many residential colonies and industries are extracting groundwater to fulfill their daily demands. This has led to depletion of groundwater which has gone to significant low level in some areas where there is huge water scarcity.

5. Reduces Floods and Soil Erosion: During the rainy season, rainwater is collected in large storage tanks which also helps in reducing floods in some low lying areas. Apart from this, it also helps in reducing soil erosion and contamination of surface water with pesticides and fertilizers from rainwater run-off which results in cleaner lakes and ponds.

6. Can be Used for Several Non-drinking Purposes: Rainwater, when collected, can be used for several non-drinking functions including flushing toilets, washing clothes, watering the garden, washing cars etc. It is unnecessary to use pure drinking water if all we need to use it for some other purpose rather than drinking.

Disadvantages of Rainwater Harvesting

1. Unpredictable Rainfall: Rainfall is hard to predict and sometimes little or no rainfall can limit the supply of rainwater.  It is not advisable to depend on rainwater alone for all your water needs in areas where there is limited rainfall. Rainwater harvesting is suitable in those areas that receive plenty of rainfall.

2. Initial High Cost: Depending on the systemıs size and technology level, a rainwater harvesting system may cost anywhere between $200 to $2000 and benefit from it cannot be derived until it is ready for use. Like solar panels, the cost can be recovered in 10-15 years which again depends on the amount of rainfall and sophistication of the system.

3. Regular Maintenance: Rainwater harvesting systems require regular maintenance as they may get prone to rodents, mosquitoes, algae growth, insects, and lizards. They can become as breeding grounds for many animals if they are not properly maintained.

4. Certain Roof Types may Seep Chemicals or Animal Droppings: Certain types of roofs may seep chemicals, insects, dirt or animals droppings that can harm plants if it is used for watering the plants.

5. Storage Limits: The collection and storage facilities may also impose some kind of restrictions as to how much rainwater you can use. During the heavy downpour, the collection systems may not be able to hold all rainwater which ends in going to drains and rivers.

Rainwater harvesting is a system that is gaining speed over time. Areas that experience high amounts of rainfall will benefit the most from the system and will be able to distribute water to dry lands with ease. However, the beneficial environmental impact of the system is what drives it further as of now.


 Brush Control Policy

On May 15, 2014, the State Board approved a revised Policy on Allocation of Grant Funds for the WSEP. This policy was originally approved on March 6, 2013 and revised on July 18, 2013. This policy describes the agencyıs WSEP purpose and goals, the competitive grant process and proposal ranking criteria, factors that must be considered in a feasibility study, the geospatial analysis methodology for prioritizing acreage for brush control, and how the agency will allocate funding. On May 15, 2014, the State Board approved a revised Policy on Brush Control Feasibility Studies for the WSEP. This policy was originally approved on July 18, 2013. This policy describes the requirements for computer modeling for water yield predictions in feasibility studies and the process to review applications for funding to conduct new feasibility studies. On May 15, 2014, the State Board approved a Policy on Funding Technical Assistance for Brush Control through SWCDs for the WSEP (PDF, 38 kB). In order to maximize the effective and efficient use of WSEP grant funds, this policy describes the options SWCDs have for providing technical assistance to landowners and administering the cost-share program. These three Policies were incorporated into the Program Rules (31 TAC Chapter 517, Subchapter B) and the State Water Supply Enhancement Plan. 

FY2018-2019 Request for Proposals for Water Supply Enhancement Projects 

The TSSWCB is requesting proposals for water supply enhancement projects seeking funding in FY2018-2019 to conduct brush control under the WSEP. Proposed projects should focus on watersheds with a demonstrated water conservation need and where brush control has been shown, using a computer model, to be a feasible strategy to enhance surface and/or groundwater supplies. Proposals must be received by 5:00 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 1, 2017, to be considered for funding. Proposals may be submitted either electronically (preferred) or as hard copies. Submit proposals electronically to Johnny Oswald at joswald@tsswcb.texas.gov. Hard copy submissions should be mailed to the TSSWCB WSEP Office located at 622 South Oakes Street, Suite H-2, San Angelo, TX 76903. Regardless of delivery method, proposals must be received by 5:00 p.m. CDT, Thursday, June 1, 2017, to be considered for funding. A competitive proposal review process will be used so that the most appropriate and effective projects are selected for funding. In January 2017, the TSSWCB adopted a revised State Water Supply Enhancement Plan, which describes the program purpose and goals, the competitive grant process and proposal ranking criteria, how the agency will allocate funding, and priority watersheds across the state for water supply enhancement and brush control. Project proposals must relate to a water conservation need, based on information in the 2017 State Water Plan as adopted by the Texas Water Development Board. Project proposals will be evaluated giving priority to projects that balance the most critical water conservation need of municipal water user groups with the highest projected water yield from brush control. Evaluation criteria for proposed projects focus on municipal water supplies and those populations relying on the affected water supply. WSEP funds will only be allocated to projects that have a published feasibility study that includes a watershed-specific computer-modeled water yield component developed by a person with expertise as described in Texas Agriculture Code ı203.053(b). For a watershed to be considered eligible for cost-share funds, the feasibility study must demonstrate increases in post-treatment water yield as compared to the pre-treatment conditions. The proposal submission packet includes the application for proposed water supply enhancement projects, a set of instructions that provides explanations of questions on the form and resources for answering those questions, and a set of guidelines that details project eligibility requirements and provides additional information critical for successful applications

MTGCD Providing Pollution Avoidance

Spring is here, and we look forward to the typical spring rains that provide recharge to our aquifer. However, the springtime can also be a time for potential harm to our groundwater. The danger is aquifer pollution caused by open abandoned water wells. In addition to being illegal, these abandoned wells are especially vulnerable to pollution because they are often located in low lying areas where they can be inundated by rain water. Any undesirable materials near these wells may be washed into the aquifer, tainting the water source that many of us share.

The Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (MTGCD) will assist well owners with the proper plugging of abandoned wells, or with capping open wells that still have the potential for future use.
There is no charge for the work involved; however, we do require that the owner be present at the time the work is performed.
Additionally, the MTGCD recommends that users of water wells have their water tested every two years to make certain that the water quality is good. A sample is taken and then brought back to the MTGCD test lab for incubation and reagent tests that will indicate the chemical characteristics of the water and ascertain if any coliform bacteria is present. There is no charge for this testing for wells registered with the District.

For assistance with well plugging, capping, or to have your water tested, call MTGCD at 254-965-6705. Wells must be located within the District in Comanche, Erath, Bosque or Coryell Counties. Additional information about MTGCD may be found at www.middletrinitygcd.org.


©2017 All Rights Reserved Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District    e-mail: mtgcd1@centurylink.net

Proud Member of the WE LOVE TEXAS Network, Supporting Texas-based Small businesses!