On April 9, Groundwater Management Area 14—which includes the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, the entity that regulates Montgomery County’s groundwater, and four other groundwater conservation districts—voted on its proposed long-term goal for the Gulf Coast Aquifer System.

The goal is known as desired future conditions, or DFC.

The proposed DFC statement restricts districts within GMA 14 to no less than 70% median available drawdown remaining in the aquifer system in 2080 and no more than 1 additional foot of average subsidence between 2009 and 2080. Subsidence refers to the gradual sinking of the earth that can be a result of excessive groundwater withdrawals.

LSGCD General Manager Samantha Reiter, who represents the LSGCD on the GMA 14 board, opposed the first motion, which included a formal resolution adopting the DFC statement. Reiter said the LSGCD is advocating for DFC statement that uses metrics applicable to each district based on their varying aquifer conditions.

“The best available data and science shows that 70% remaining available drawdown is a limiting factor for some counties and that the 1 foot of additional average subsidence metric is a limiting factor for other counties,” she said in a follow-up email. “Specific to Montgomery County, the limiting factor in all of the model runs is always 70% remaining available drawdown. The 1-foot additional average subsidence is not a limiting factor for Montgomery County in the model runs.”

Reiter proposed several motions, including a resolution that called for the median available drawdown and subsidence factors to be applicable only to those counties where those metrics are a limiting factor. The motion failed with a 2-3 vote.

Ultimately, GMA 14 unanimously approved the original proposed DFC statement without the language of a formal resolution. A final DFC statement will need to adopted that includes a formal resolution.

The proposed DFC statement comes after months of LSGCD and GMA 14 meetings, where members of the public weighed in on what factors they would like the LSGCD to consider in its proposed DFC. Many The Woodlands residents said they would like subsidence to be a factor as their properties are allegedly experiencing subsidence damage.