AUSTIN – The Board of Directors of the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BS/EACD) declared an alarm stage drought for the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer.
The declaration is effective immediately, meaning BS/EACD permittees are required to reduce water use 20 percent. Among the permittees are the Cities of Buda and Kyle, along with several private water suppliers outside incorporated areas in southern Travis and northern Hays Counties.
Kyle, a BS/EACD permittee, already has called for Stage II water restrictions, with includes a mandatory schedule limiting lawn watering to twice per week. San Marcos, which is permitted by the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA), has implemented Stage I restrictions with a once-per-week watering schedule. Buda, which is a BS/EACD permittee, is certain to implement restrictions.
Though the wettest months for Central Texas historically are May and September, the BS/EACD said dry conditions have persisted since September 2007, with most months’ receiving well below average rainfall totals.
The Manchaca Weather Station, maintained by the BS/EACD, reports a deficit of nearly nine inches of rain so far for 2008. Onion Creek and the other area creeks providing a majority of recharge to the aquifer stopped flowing in September 2007.
The BS/EACD makes drought declarations on the basis of water levels in the Lovelady Indicator Well in South Austin and spring discharge at Barton Springs. Either Barton Springs or the Lovelady Well can trigger a drought declaration.
Barton Springs currently has a 10-day average discharge of 29 cubic feet per second (cfs), below its Alarm Stage Drought threshold of 38 cfs. The Lovelady well has a depth to water of 178.8 ft, very close its trigger level of 181.0 feet.
Declaration of an alarm stage drought requires permittees to implement steps in their User Drought Contingency Plans to achieve a mandatory 20 percent reduction in usage. While many of the smaller, individual wells are exempt from BS/EACD permitting, they are equally as vulnerable to falling water levels, according to the BS/EACD, which encourages such users to reduce their use by 20 percent to conserve the resource.
Without concerted attempts to achieve these reductions and without significant rains, water levels will drop further and will lead sooner to more restrictive declarations, the BS/EACD said.
The BS/EACD said its board will continue to monitor groundwater use and aquifer conditions as indicated by its drought triggers and other indicators throughout the drought.
The previous alarm stage drought was declared in January 2006, and it was followed by a critical stage drought declaration in October 2006, which lasted for more than four months.
A list of actions to save water in and around the home or office and the hydrographs for various monitor wells are available on the District’s website at www.bseacd.org.Email | Print