Seymour Aquifer Water Quality

The Seymour Aquifer is a shallow aquifer in Northwest Central Texas and the only major source of groundwater in Haskell, Jones and Knox counties. The aquifer underlies 300,000 plus acres and provides drinking and domestic water for many rural families. In addition, over 3,000 wells furnish water for irrigation and livestock use.

Download a fact sheet about this program

The State of Texas has identified elevated nitrate levels as a concern in the Seymour Aquifer. In more than 75 percent of the wells tested, nitrate levels exceed the federal safe drinking water standard of 10 ppm nitrate-nitrogen. Nitrate levels have been documented in some wells as high as 35 ppm nitrate-nitrogen.

To remove this threat, the Seymour Aquifer Water Quality Improvement Project is working to provide water quality education and technical assistance to irrigators for best management practices (BMPs) implementation to reduce nitrate concentrations in the Seymour Aquifer. The project also provides cost-share assistance to replace existing irrigation systems commonly used in the area with drip irrigation systems at a cost-share rate of 60 percent.

Project leaders hope this program will serve as a catalyst to encourage the installation of drip irrigation systems as a BMP to improve water quality and maintain water supplies in the aquifer.

Objectives

  • Reduce potential for nitrate infiltration into Seymour Aquifer
  • Provide technical and financial assistance to irrigators concerning implementation of appropriate BMPs to aid in reduction of nitrate infiltration
  • Coordinate educational events describing methods for reduction of nitrate infiltration
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of BMP implementation in reducing nitrate levels within the aquifer

Components

  • Technical and Financial Assistance: Soil and Water Conservation Districts are providing planning assistance and cost-share to irrigators for installation of drip irrigation and implementation of nutrient management.
  • Education: Extension personnel are providing guidance to producers adopting drip irrigation technologies.
  • BMP Effi cacy Assessment: Researchers are monitoring water and nutrient use efficiency, potential water quality improvements and economics on plots and are developing projections to field and aquifer scales.

Collaborators

  • Texas Water Resources Institute
  • Texas AgriLife Research
  • Texas AgriLife Extension Service
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • California Creek Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Haskell Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Rolling Plains Groundwater Conservation District
  • Wichita Brazos Soil and Water Conservation District

Funding Agencies

  • Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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