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San Angelo Wellfield History

The History of the San Angelo Wellfield

Many questions have been raised concerning the San Angelo well field in McCulloch, Concho, and Menard Counties. Hopefully, the following will answer many of these questions.

In 1971 and 1972, the City of San Angelo acquired the water rights below the base of the Ellenburger for approximately 24,800 acres of land in western McCulloch and eastern Concho and Menard Counties.

In 1982, the Hickory Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 was organized under the Terms and Provisions of Article XVI Sec. 59 of the Texas Constitution, and Chapter 52 of the Texas Water Code. The vote for approval for creation was 94%.

In 1986 the City of San Angelo filed suit against the District claiming the District did not have authority to regulate the City.

In April 1991, Judge Steib of San Angelo ordered that the District could NOT consider San Angelo's alternative sources of water but upheld that San Angelo had to be permitted by the District. He upheld District Rule 87-7 sec 4.11 which states that on approval of application, the District may issue a permit to the applicant subject to any safeguards or restrictions the District determines are necessary in order to conserve the underground water, prevent waste, minimize as far as practicable the drawdown of the water table or the reduction of artesian pressure, or lessen interference between wells. The applicant's right to produce shall be limited to the rate, term, quantity and purpose(s) stated in the permit. The District may issue a permit for lesser quantities or a lesser term than is requested by applicant.

In January 1995, San Angelo submitted a permit request on 9 wells for a total of 7,250 acre-feet of water.

After legal back and forth, San Angelo submitted an amended permit requesting 22 wells for a total of 15,011 acre-feet of water.   On March 14, 1996 the District issued Order 96-2 to issue permits to San Angelo for 2,750 acre-feet provided the District receive a proof of authorization by the San Angelo City Council authorizing the applications for 22 wells and the City apply for production of 2,750 acre-feet/year on a temporary basis to satisfy unanticipated need.

The City of Brady filed a suit for dismissal of the District's order 96-2.  The City of Brady stated that San Angelo did not authorize its city manager to request 22 well permits and that San Angelo didn't need the water.  The City of Brady also sued the District for granting permits to San Angelo.

On July 23, 1996 the City of San Angelo filed a 2nd amended petition on the District, City of Brady, and each District director who served on the board during the period of the lawsuits  (Owen Parks, Bill Sloan, Dewey Eckert, Ellis Klett, Bert Striegler, Larry Lehmberg and Jim Quinn) for their individual and official capacities.

In November 1997 the final judgment was passed down from Judge Steib. The District issued a permit backdated to March 14, 1996.


For the first ten years, from 1996 until 2006, San Angelo could pump 1,500 acre-feet a year.  If they chose to accrue the annual amount, the maximum they could use in a single year would be 10,000 acre-feet.  From 2006 to 2021, the annual amount would be 2,750 acre-feet a year with a maximum accrued annual usage of 15,000.  From 2021 to 2026, the annual amount is 5,000 acre-feet a year with a maximum of 12,000 acre-feet. After 2036, the annual amount is 12,000 acre-feet a year and San Angelo cannot accrue water.

The following chart shows the production schedule as mandated by the permit.

Time PeriodAnnual AmountMax Use per year if banked
3/14/96 through 3/13/20061,500 AF10,000 AF
3/14/2006 through 3/13/20212,750 AF15,000 AF
3/14/2021 through 3/13/20265,000 AF15,000 AF
3/14/2026 through 3/13/203610,000 AF12,000 AF
After 203612,000 AF12,000 AF

Newspaper articles published during the lawsuit (PDF).

Unknown Date

Unknown "Ideal City Water Plan Threatened"


San Angelo Standard Times Article July 21, 1971


San Angelo Standard Times April 23, 1991"Water Ruling May Benefit Area"


San Angelo Standard Times March 24, 1995 "City files lawsuit over water rights in Hickory District 1"San Angelo Standard Times April 16, 1995 and Ken Bull's ResponseBrady Standard May 18, 1995 "Angelo Use of Hickory Water Alarms Brady Folks"


Brady Standard Unknown Angelo Seeks to Pump Water From Aquifer.pdfBrady Standard January 26, 1996 "Angelo Acts to Suck Up Brady Water"San Angelo Standard Times February 2, 1996 "Hickory Water Board to Look at San Angelo's Applications"Eden Echo February 22, 1996 "Maintaining Reliable Water Source Requires Constant Vigilance"San Angelo Standard Times March 1996 "Council Moves to Protect City's Water Interests"Brady Standard March 1, 1996 "Mason County Joins Brady to Fight Angelo over Water"Brady Standard March 8, 1996 "Counties to Map Water Strategies"Brady Standard March 12, 1996 "Fight Over Hickory Water Seems Destined for Court"San Angelo Standard Times March 15, 1996 "Aquifer Ruling under Fire"San Angelo Standard Times March 18, 1996 "Coveted Resource at Core of Squabble"Brady Standard March 19, 1996 "Board Slashes Angelo's Request"Brady Standard March 22, 1996 "San Angelo Council Okays Water Fight"San Angelo Standard Times March 31, 1996 "In our opinion: Hickory Resolution Should Be Negotiated"Eden Echo June 6, 1996 "Li'l Echoes"San Angelo Standard Times June 17, 1996 "With Dry Skies, City Takes Look at Water Supply"Brady Standard Herald June 28, 1996 "Chronological Legal Questions Involving Hickory Underground Water Conservation District No. 1"Brady Standard Herald June 28, 1996 "Increased Water Requests Concern Hickory Users"Eden Echo July 11, 1996 "Fight Over Hickory Water Moves to Appellate Courts"San Angelo Standard Times August 11, 1996 "City Studies Water Options"San Angelo Times October 11, 1996 "Angelo, Brady Officials Set for Mediation"San Angelo Standard Times November 18, 1996 "Water Wars"Brady Standard November 19, 1996 "Angelo Dispute May Set new Water Laws"
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