TR-498 Statewide Delivery of the Texas Well Owner Network (TWON) Final Report

Authors: D. Boellstorff, D. Gholson, D. Kalisek, J.W. Smith, R. Gerlich, K. Wagner A. Jantrania, T. Miller

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service (AgriLife Extension), through the Departments of Soil and Crop Sciences (SCSC) and Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAEN) and the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI), conducted 30 well owner trainings and 25 well owner screenings throughout the state of Texas through the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) project 13-08 “Statewide Delivery of the Texas Well Owner Network” funded through a Clean Water Act 319(h) nonpoint source grant from the TSSWCB and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Private well owners are independently responsible for monitoring the quality of their well water, and they are frequently at greater risk for exposure to compromised water quality. Since management and protection of private, domestic and irrigation water sources are under the control of the landowner, they depend primarily on education rather than regulation to protect their well water.

To help educate landowners about well water quality testing, protection and management, TWRI, SCSC and BAEN, parts of AgriLife Extension at Texas A&M University, developed the Texas Well Owner Network (TWON) with funding and support from TSSWCB and EPA. TWON was designed to deliver science-based, community-responsive education curriculum and focused on protecting groundwater quality and aquifer integrity.

TWON trained Texans regarding water quality and best management practices for protecting wells and surface waters, which will avert off-site transport of contaminants (bacteria and nutrients) to surface waters, prevent contamination of underlying aquifers and safeguard the water quality and health of landowners and their families.

TWON is also an effective tool used in support of watershed protection planning and total maximum daily load implementation efforts where investigations indicate bacterial and nutrient contributions.

This was achieved by (1) delivery of TWON educational materials and trainings; and (2) evaluation and assessment of the program so needed modifications and improvements could be made.This project continued the work originally conducted under the Preventing Water Quality Contamination through the Texas Well Owner Network project #10-04.