San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

October 23rd, 2009
BS/EACD downgrades from critical drought stage


The board of directors for the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BS/EACD) voted Thursday night to downgrade its drought declaration to a less restrictive stage.

The board voted to declare an alarm stage drought, meaning water users must curtail their water use by 20 percent from normal. The new stage is a downgrade from the critical stage, during which water users have to reduce their use by 30 percent and outdoor uses such as lawn watering are prohibited.

The BS/EACD had been in critical drought stage for 10 months.

The board said recent rains increased recharge and sufficiently improved aquifer conditions to move into a less restrictive stage. Under alarm stage, a small amount of outdoor water use is allowed.

“The local groundwater drought is not over,” BS/EACD General Manager Kirk Holland said, “but we finally received enough rain in the right places to start having some effective replenishment of the aquifer. However, all our groundwater users need to continue to conserve water and use it wisely in order for the higher water levels in the aquifer to be sustained.”

Holland said he hopes El Nino climatological conditions will continue bringing local rains to support creek flows so drought might eventually be completely broken and the restrictions lifted.

“We aren’t there yet,” Holland said. “But that would be a welcome relief for our groundwater users who have borne the brunt of water use restrictions for two summers and whose demand-reduction efforts have been successful in preserving the water supply for themselves and others.”

The BS/EACD regulates groundwater for more than 50,000 people who live in southern Travis County, northern Hays County, western Caldwell County and western Bastrop County. The Hays County communities include the entire Buda area and a portion of Kyle.

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