A "critical groundwater area" is an area determined by the Commission to have significant groundwater depletion or degradation. Designating an area indicates that the Commission may later determine that limiting groundwater withdrawals by users within the critical groundwater area may become necessary to maximize the area's remaining groundwater resources. Designation also enhances awareness of the groundwater problems within the area and makes it easier to obtain local, state, and federal funds to resolve the area's groundwater problems.
Prior to designating a critical groundwater area, Commission staff shall publish a report containing a map of the proposed area that focuses on the geologic and hydrologic characteristics of the area that make it subject to designation. The Commission will then conduct a public hearing within each county subject to designation. The Commission will review the report, received public comments, and any other pertinent evidence to determine whether the area should be designated a critical groundwater area. The Commission has designated three areas to date.
Although the Commission has the authority to initiate regulation in critical groundwater areas by following a process similar to that required for designation of an area, the Commission has never taken steps to regulate these areas.
Critical Groundwater Facts and Map