Wednesday, September 18, 2019

6th Annual Texas Hydro Geo Workshop - October 4-6, 2019

No Drought
Lovelady well height: 531 ft-msl (122 ft-Depth to Water)
Barton Springs approximately95 cfs (10-day average)

The 6th Texas Hydro Geo Workshop is scheduled for Friday, October 4th through Sunday, October 6th at Cave without a Name near Boerne, Texas. To register, visit https://hydrogeoworkshop.org/ Note that registration two weeks before the event has already exceeded last year’s attendance numbers so this is going to be a large event. Note that registration is capped at 300 people. 

The Workshop will have have more than 40 modules scheduled this year including a number of new modules related to aquatic biology, herpetology and mudlogging. There will also be three contests so make sure you bone up on your rock identification skills, bring a lunch for the field lunch contest, and the Yodeling and Hog Calling contest which is looking very competitive this year. We have a Professor from West Virginia University that has been practicing for the event for the last two months.

The program guide for this year’s event is now on line. You can find it at  https://hydrogeoworkshop.org/docs/HGWProgramGuide18.pdf.

Hope to see you there.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Routine Hydrocarbon Sampling

No Drought
Lovelady well height: 538 ft-msl (116 ft-Depth to Water)
Barton Springs: approximately: 105 cfs (10-day average)


Several operational pipelines cross the District territory. In 2013 the Magellan pipeline (formerly Longhorn pipeline) changed operation of the line; and in response, the District in cooperation with Magellan Midstream Partners, LLC, began a routine water quality monitoring program that screens groundwater for hydrocarbons that could be sourced from petroleum pipelines (and other sources). Each year District staff samples water from several springs and sentinel wells and since 2013 there have been no detections.

The 2019 annual screening had no detections of hydrocarbons at the eight spring and well monitoring sites. Water samples were analyzed for Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH) and volatiles (BTEX: Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Xylenes, and MTBE, Methyl tert-butyl ether).

Friday, June 28, 2019

Lovelady Reaches 3rd Highest Water Level on Record

No Drought
Lovelady well height: 537 ft-msl (116 ft-Depth to Water)
Barton Springs: approximately: 107 cfs (10-day average)

The water level in the Lovelady monitor well has risen to surpass the 3rd highest peak recorded in 2003 (536.0 ft-msl or 117.4 ft-dtw). It is expected that the water level will continue to rise while recharge creeks continue to flow. A combined 14 inches of rain in May and June has provided tremendous recharge. The District's recharge enhancement facility, Antioch, in Onion Creek is currently taking recharge. The City of Austin staff report that Onion Creek features on the Water Quality Protection Lands are also receiving recharge.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that we’ll remain in an El Nino advisory through the summer, bringing “cooler-than-normal” and “wetter-than-normal” conditions.
Lovelady water levels would have to climb another 9 feet to pass 2016’s 2nd highest peak (545 ft-msl) and 11.3 ft to pass 1992’s 1st highest peak. While water levels in the Edwards Aquifer are currently at record highs, the hydrograph period of record shows that drought will eventually return. Water conservation now helps extend the period of time out of drought and preserve water storage.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Statewide Drought Status: May 2019

No Drought
Lovelady well height: 533 ft-msl (121 ft- Depth to Water)
Barton Springs: approximately: 113 cfs 10-day average

An average rainfall of 10 inches through the Texas Hill Country this May 2019 has area creeks flowing and the Edwards and Trinity aquifer recharging.

For a summary of Texas' drought status: Click Here.

Includes:

  • Large parts of East and Central Texas receive more that 10 inches of rain over the past month
  • Recent rains have erased drought from the Texas landscape
  • Statewide reservoir storage increases
  • The odds of El Nino staying with us through the summer have increased to 70 percent

Friday, May 10, 2019

Antioch Cave Vault on Onion Creek Functioning Amidst Recent and Coming Rain

No Drought
Lovelady well height: 531 ft-msl (123 ft- Depth to Water)
Barton Springs: approximately: 100+ cfs 10-day average


Heavy rains late last week and throughout this week deposited a significant amount of water along the I-35 corridor, averaging 8.3 inches among Austin, San Marcos and Wimberley. These rains, and subsequent creekflow, have led to a significant pulse of recharge to the aquifers. District staff anticipated the surge and prepared Antioch by calibrating all instruments in use and shutting both intake valves before the storm arrived. Onion Creek at Buda reached a peak stage of 23.2 ft (8 ft above flood stage level) early Saturday (5/4) morning.

As seen on the graph below, Antioch’s automatic valve successfully opened at 10:30am Sunday (5/5) when flooding subsided and turbidity levels measured below 50 NTU. This allowed desired inflow where an acoustic doppler velocimeter took measurements of up to 10 ft/s inside the 36” intake pipe. This equates to 70 cfs or 31,400 gpm. On Monday 5/6, staff opened the manual valve to increase the amount of recharge into Antioch cave. Staff continue to monitor rain patterns and prepare Antioch for best management practice.


Monday, April 8, 2019

2019 Spring Aquifer Conditions Outlook

No Drought
Lovelady well height: 529 ft-msl (124 ft- Depth to Water)
Barton Springs: approximately: 107 cfs 10-day average



Those of us living in the Edwards Aquifer region know the meaning of drought… and the relief that comes from a season (or more) without it.  Roughly 60,000 people rely on the Edwards for their drinking water.  All experience the ups and downs of this critical resource, and the impacts of those shifts.

The District utilizes flow at Barton Springs in combination with water levels in the Lovelady monitor well to indicate overall storage and drought status of the aquifer. The graph below shows groundwater level elevation from 2009 to present. It illustrates that the past decade has been characterized by dramatic peaks and critical lows. Fortunately, the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards aquifer has been out of drought conditions for 63% of that time. Still, that 63% has been punctuated by periods of Stage 2 Alarm drought (19% of the last ten years) and Critical drought (18%).

  

We received ample recharge at the close of 2018, including 13” of rain from September to October. The result has bolstered local aquifers and reservoirs that were already at average-or-above levels. Even so, a low rainfall average this past winter has produced little additional flow in area creeks. When the creeks stop flowing, water levels inevitably begin to decline. Our graph also indicates just how quickly and significantly our water levels can drop in periods of reduced recharge. For example, it took only a year for January 2011’s surplus to drop to Critical drought by January 2012.

What we might expect moving forward:
  • May 2019 could fulfill its role as the average wettest month in Austin, bringing a significant influx of recharge.
  • A period of a weak El Niño (forecasted by the Climate Prediction Center) could contribute to above-average rainfall and below-average temperatures through spring and into summer.

To stay up to date with current drought status, visit the Austin/San Antonio Drought Status website.

With a little over 2” of rain in the first half of April, favorable current conditions and a weak El Niño on the horizon, our outlook for avoiding drought in Spring 2019 is hopeful. With continued efforts by our entire community to conserve water, and with help from the climate, we hope for a drought-free season.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

2019 Well Water Check-Up...Free!

No Drought
Lovelady well height: 528 ft-msl (126 ft- Depth to Water)
Barton Springs: approximately: 113 cfs 10-day average


















Monday, March 18:
Sample bags available for pickup at District office*. Can be picked up anytime from March 18 - April 16.

Tuesday, April 16 - After hours drop-off begins after 5pm:
Last day to register and pick up supplies. After hours sample drop-off available at the District office after 5:00pm. Samples must be less than 24 hours old.*

Wednesday, April 17 - Samples must be received by 2pm:
Day to drop off samples, which must be less than 24 hours old. Well Water samples will be screened in-house for nitrate, pH, and salinity (TDS). Bacteria will be processed by an off-site lab. Preliminary results available after a short wait.

*District office is located near 1626 and Manchaca Rd. in far south Austin. Address is: BSEACD, 1124 Regal Row, Austin, Texas, 78748. Office hours: 9:00 - 5:0pm. After hours sample drop-off will be available after 5:00pm, Tuesday, April. 16, 2019. Samples can be dropped off but must be less than 24 hours old and results will be mailed.

Visit HERE for more info and video instructions on how to take a water sample!





Monday, March 4, 2019

Proposed Kinder Morgan Pipeline

No Drought
Lovelady well height: 526 ft-msl (127 ft- Depth to Water)
Barton Springs: approximately: 123 cfs 10-day average

Kinder Morgan has proposed a natural gas pipeline that crosses through the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (District) in Hays County. The Proposed alignment crosses environmentally sensitive areas. Staff have compiled data in the form of maps to examine how the proposed alignment is related to the hydrogeology of the District. See maps and more info here.




Monday, February 11, 2019

Austin Cave Festival 2019!

No Drought
Lovelady well height: 522 ft-msl (131 ft- Depth to Water)
Barton Springs: approximately: 112 cfs 10-day average

Austin Cave Festival

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 (10am - 3pm)
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin, TX 78739

Come join the BSEACD for this free, family-friendly event featuring hands-on activities, cave tours, live music, and more. Visitors will have the opportunity to explore a cave and see how water makes its way to the aquifer and Barton Springs, learn about animals that call Austin's caves home, try on cave gear, and learn how to protect and conserve Austin's water resources. Click here for more info

Family Caving, PHOTO Tanya Zastrow

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

January 2019 Recharge in Action

No Drought 
Lovelady well height: 514 ft-msl (139 ft-Depth to Water)
Barton Springs: approximately 106 cfs 10-day average

Austin and Central Texas entered the new year following some of the wettest December weather ever recorded. On Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, ABIA recorded 3.5 inches of rainfall, over six times greater than the previous December record for a day. In fact, the precipitation recorded that day alone was more than the average rainfall for the entire month (2.2 inches).  By New Year’s Eve, 6.0 inches of rain had fallen in Austin and the Hill Country for the month of December which is more than two times the average.

The wet trend continued into early January 2019 with the Austin area totaling about 3.0 inches, exceeding the historical average of 1.9 inches for the month of January. This record rainfall has resulted in substantial recharge, thus the BSEACD, like most of the State, are not experiencing drought conditions.

IMAGE 1: Inside View of Cave Receiving Recharge
This wet period has produced a prolonged period of streamflow throughout the region. Often the streams in the Hill Country are either dry or have very low flow. The rains are sustaining stream flow in creeks and rivers that are providing substantial recharge to the Trinity and Edwards aquifers.

In addition, much of Central Texas is a karst landscape, meaning a large fraction of the rainfall we receive infiltrates through soils or direct flow into recharge features such as caves or sinkholes.

IMAGE 2: Cave Taking Recharge in Driftwood
So, groundwater resources are presently experiencing high levels of recharge and high water levels and springflow such as Barton Springs (Edwards Aquifer) and Jacob’s Well (Trinity Aquifer), both flowing higher-than average.

These wet conditions, flowing streams, and increased recharge will allow us to avoid entering severe drought conditions for months to come. As always, despite these good conditions, we always encourage everyone to be mindful of water use and practice conservation. We know in Texas hydrologic conditions can change rapidly, such as the flash drought of 2011 demonstrated.