In a regional vote on September 29, 1951, two entire counties — Lubbock and Parmer — and parts of eleven other counties — Lynn, Lamb, Hockley, Deaf Smith, Floyd, Castro, Bailey, Armstrong, Randall, Potter, and Cochran — voted to form Texas’s first groundwater management district. Significantly, three of the most intensively irrigated counties — Hale, Swisher and Crosby — refused to join. … Ultimately, an area of 8,149 acres square miles, or 5,215,600 acres, would be served by the new district. Texas High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1 opened for business in April 1952 and on February 1, 1953, set forth its first regulations covering all full-scale irrigation wells pumping 100,000 gallons per day or more. Compliance was voluntary. In the meantime, land under pump expanded from 650,000 irrigated acres in 1946 to 2,700,000 irrigated acres in 1954. The district regulations did not provide immediate relief. Between 1951 and 1958, the average water level fell twenty-eight more feet. In 1954, at least six farmers who started irrigating in 1953 were back into dryland farming. The general manager of the district concluded that “our conservation program is about twenty-five years or more too late.”
— Ogallala: Water for a Dry Land, John Opie, 1993