Earlier this week, the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District #1 (HPWD) Board of Directors approved allocating funds to study to Dockum Aquifer (shown in photo).  The Dockum Aquifer could be used in the future as an alternate source of water to the Ogallala Aquifer.

“In some areas of the district, Dockum wells provide water for irrigation, livestock, municipalities, and oilfield production.  It is hoped that this study will provide a better understanding of the aquifer--including water quality and quantity,” said HPWD Board President Lynn Tate of Amarillo.

According to the HPWD, the Dockum Aquifer is found deep below the Ogallala Aquifer throughout the 16-county HPWD service area.  Dockum water wells are frequently drilled to depths of 900 feet or more in Deaf Smith County, where most of the current exploration occurs. The cost of drilling is costly.

Initial work in the HPWD Dockum Aquifer study will include:

  • Creating an inventory of existing Dockum water wells within the district. (HPWD did not require permits for Dockum wells until 2011.  There are many existing Dockum wells that have not been inventoried as a result.)
  • Reviewing and entering data from water well drillers’ logs.
  • Identifying existing wells that are suitable for water level measurements, water quality testing, and geophysical logging.
  • Developing a water level observation program for Dockum wells in 2015.
  • Implementing a water quality program for Dockum wells in 2015.
  • Partnering with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) or others to conduct geophysical logging of selected wells in 2015.
  • Reviewing the updated Groundwater Availability Model (GAM) to evaluate the structure and surfaces of the aquifer.
  • Conducting a literature review of Dockum-related publications and analyze them for recommended work.
  • Performing a gap analysis to determine suitable test hole sites in areas where there are no Dockum water wells.
  • Analyze data collection in 2016 and determine needs for additional evaluation.

“For years, there have been many unknowns about the Dockum Aquifer.  It is the Board of Directors’ hope that this study will shed new light on this secondary groundwater resource,” Tate said.