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      Groundwater public hearing

      A host of landowners from Donley and Roberts counties went to Tuesday's Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District's public hearing.

      The meeting was called to decide if two areas located in Donley and Roberts counties should be slated as conservation areas.

      After several hours of discussion and public comments the board decided to keep them both as study areas.

      Study area versus conservation? In study areas, landowners are asked to allow meters to go in to monitor how much they pump, and the district checks in on them 4 times a year. In a conservation area the meters are mandated and landowners are required to report how many acres they are using.

      The purpose is to see how much individual producers are pumping and make sure they are in compliance.

      The board decided to leave the area in Donley county near Hedley as a study area, but will require mandatory meters on groundwater wells. They also decided to leave the area in Roberts county owned by CRMWA as a study area with no change since CRMWA already has meters in place.

      "The bottom line importance to this is, we feel like that it's our job to inform them where the problem areas are and them also to have compliance for future generations where there would be water left for all the constituents of our area," said C.E. Williams, General Manager of the Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District.

      The board also designated 4 areas in the Panhandle as study areas including land in NE Armstrong county, land near Ashtola, Kingsmill, and McLean.