Water levels and spring flow on the decline (again) – 2021 Sept Hydro Report

With above average rainfall for Central Texas, surface vegetation is thriving, rainwater catchment systems are full, but aquifer conditions aren’t doing as well. Water levels in monitor wells rose after this summer’s wet conditions, but they’ve started to decline again. Similarly, after summer rains baseflow increased from Middle Trinity springs (Jacob’s Well and Pleasant Valley Springs shown above), but flow is slowly decreasing.

Groundwater levels and spring flow fluctuate through time. Rainfall and pumping are the biggest factors influencing aquifer conditions. The Texas Water Development Board in conjunction with many groundwater conservation districts maintains monitor wells throughout the state and the data are publicly accessible on the web (link). Looking at annual trends for the Edwards, Middle Trinity, and Lower Trinity, there are similarities and differences. Comparing the annual graphs, each monitor well shows a water level rise after the wet conditions in late April through early June. The long term trends show recent declines in water levels over the past few years.

While we can’t control the weather, we can conserve water and look for innovative ways to use alternate supplies (like site-harvested supplies—rainwater and AC condensate) to lessen impacts of pumping. Typically, the high water use period extends from May 1 – September 30. Less pumping and continued wet conditions could create much needed recharge and boost water levels and spring flow. While each aquifer behaves differently, all groundwater is limited and deserves to be used wisely. For more information on native landscapes, rainwater harvesting, leak identification tips and more, visit the Home Owner Resource page.

No matter what area agencies call their drought declaration, coordinated water conservation is important to preserve groundwater availability, spring flow, and water supplies.

Agency Drought Stage Date Declared Details
Hays Trinity GCD Jacob’s Well GMZ – 20% Curtailment
Remaining GCD – No Drought
Jun. 2021 Board Order, 6/3/2020
Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer CD No Curtailment Jul. 2021 Press Release, 7/8/2021
Edwards Aquifer Authority No Curtailment May 2021 Press Release, 5/7/2021

[Updated 9/16/2021]

For updates, useful links, and archived Hydro Reports, visit the WVWA Water Monitoring page.