March 11-17, 2018 is National Groundwater Awareness Week and the Rusk County Groundwater Conservation District wants to remind Rusk County Citizens how important it is to protect and preserve our groundwater resources. We have joined thousands of other organizations around the nation to observe Groundwater Awareness Week. Established by the National Groundwater Association to highlight the responsible development, management, and use of water. The District develops and implements a sound groundwater management program and has several programs in place to monitor the health of the groundwater within Rusk County. The District’s mission is to conserve, preserve, and protect the groundwater supplies of Rusk County.
With a majority of our water supply coming from local groundwater it is important to be a good steward of those water supplies. We should always be active in practicing water conservation by only using what you need at the time, this allows groundwater to be reserved for our not so rainy days when we are in drought and seeing a decline in groundwater levels.
If you own a groundwater well it is important to maintain a safe distance to potential sources of contamination by at least fifty feet (50’) to one hundred feet (100’), to items such as pesticides, herbicides, septic systems, poultry or stockyards, etc. Contaminated drinking water is unusable drinking water and harmful. It is also important to be diligent in eliminating safety hazards with groundwater wells, such as large diameter wells that a person or animal could become victim to. By properly plugging the well or placing a secure seal on the well can prevent a hazardous situation.
Groundwater Facts in Rusk County: Based on 2016 groundwater use numbers Rusk County utilized: 80% groundwater and surface water at 20%. With the municipalities of Henderson and Kilgore utilizing surface water and the rest of the county dependent on groundwater.
District Usage Facts for 2016:
- 53% of our groundwater usage is through Public Water Supply Retailers,
- 21% in mining use,
- 23% through Domestic and Livestock use,
- 1% through oil and gas use, and
- Minimal amounts in irrigation and steam electric use.
National Usage Facts:
- Americans use 79.6 billion gallons of groundwater each day,
- Groundwater is 20 to 30 times larger than all U.S. lakes, streams, and rivers combined,
- 44% of the U.S. population depends on groundwater for its drinking water supply,
- More than 13.2 million households utilize a water well, representing 34 million people.
The majority of our groundwater usage is produced from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifers and a minor amount out of the Queen City Aquifer. The District currently has over 4,300 wells recorded and on file with over 856 of those documented as plugged. Last Fiscal Year the District issued 64 authorizations to drill and produce water and issued 199 existing wells registrations.