Friday, April 14, 2017

April 19: Free Well Water Checkup

This year's Well Water Checkup and Ask-An-Expert Open House will be on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.  Screening is available to the first 75 well owners in the District to come in, pre-register and pick up sampling supplies and instructions.  Sample supplies must be picked up by Tuesday, April 18. There are about 30 slots still available.  Come in to get supplies!

The USEPA recommends that private water wells should be tested annually for contaminants that can jeopardize the health of its users, especially vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, or those with compromised immune systems.  Samples from private water wells will be screened for common contaminants, including fecal coliform bacteria, nitrates, and salinity. 

You'll be able to bring in your water sample for analysis on April 19; if you come between 11-1 you can talk with a well servicer, septic system expert, water quality expert, water quality lab manager, and District staff while you wait for your results.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

EP Aquifer Test Activities and Timeline

The Electro Purification (EP) aquifer test began in October and will likely finish in the coming weeks.  EP contractors, District staff, and the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) staff are coordinating testing activities and monitoring efforts. Aquifer tests are an essential part of the District's permitting process.  The Board and staff rely heavily on results of these tests to inform permit volumes and conditions.

Synopsis of aquifer test activities:
EP converted the Odell 1 well into a Lower Glen Rose monitor well.  They have developed and pumped Bridges 2 and Bridges 1 for 5 and 7 days, respectively.  Most recently, Odell 2 was developed and tested for 5 days.  During development of Odell 2, EP contractors experienced technical difficulties that delayed the start of the test; however, the pump phase is complete and water level recovery is being recorded.  During all tests, water level and water quality data were collected.  Provisional District water-level data from the deep Cow Creek monitor wells show a measurable response to the pumping.  The measurable response is what is needed to allow calculations of aquifer parameters such as transmissivity and storage.

Currently, the EP contractors requested and received approval to re-test Bridges 2.  After the test was complete, the EP contractors discovered that the original pump assembly installation was not placed properly.  The well will not be developed again, but crews will reinstall the pump assembly and begin pumping in the upcoming weeks.  Water levels are continuously being recorded.

What happens next:
Once the testing is complete and water levels have recovered, both the District staff and EP contractors will compile and check all data collected over the duration of the aquifer test.  Once compiled, organized, and checked, the District will share data with surrounding GCDs and EP contractors.  EP contractors will go through the same process.  After all data is available, EP contractors will analyze the data and propose a permit volume based on those analyses, explained through their Hydrogeologic Report.  The Hydrogeological Report is required with submittal of a production permit application to support a requested permit volume.  When a production permit application is submitted by EP to the District, District staff will review and vet the contractor's Hydrogeologic Report, model effects of the requested volume, and determine whether the requested volume may have potential to cause unreasonable impacts to surrounding wells.  The staff's findings will be presented to the Board to inform the permit desision.

To make the aquifer test more transparent to the groundwater community, the District (with EP's support) posts updates on the EP Aquifer Test Spotlight page.

Barton Springs Hackathon

The Barton Springs Hackathon is a one-day, hands-on, technical workshop focused on unlocking hydrologic data in central Texas for public consumption.  The District has teamed up with the Texas Advanced Computing Center to host the first Barton Springs Hackathon!  With support from the Hill Country Alliance, the Hackathon will be a fun day to learn, teach, and help make data more accessible.

Here’s where you can help –  we need everybody from coders to scientists to educators that can unlock the information collected from a large network of monitoring sites and help well owners and central Texas residents understand the groundwater system that feeds Barton Springs. Join a project team and lend your expertise to the challenge!
Read more here!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

2016 Edwards Aquifer Status In Review

Lovelady well height: 542.25 ft-msl (11.44 ft-Depth to Water)
Barton Springs: approximately 109 cfs 10-day average 

2016 began in a status of No Drought following a very wet 2015 summer and. Those summer and rains augmented a trend which initiated back in September 2014, when water levels began to rise after above-average rainfall. Steady recharge continued to increase aquifer water levels, as well as Barton Springs flow. In January of 2015, the Board updated the drought status from Stage II Alarm Drought to No Drought. This change has remained in effect throughout 2016, as Edwards water levels have continued to rise. To note, recent measurements indicate the beginning of a decline starting October 11th.

An overall wet 2016 produced long periods of recharge, resulting in the second highest water level elevation for the District’s Edwards Aquifer drought index well, the Lovelady Monitor Well. Water levels peaked on October 5, 2016 at 545.8 ft-msl, second to the 547.2 ft-msl recorded on June 2,1992. The Lovelady Monitor Well has recorded data since 1949.

Almost mirroring the rejuvenating effects of 2015, periods of heavy rainfall in 2016 have continued to boost the Edwards Aquifer. For close comparison total rainfall for 2015, measured at Camp Mabry, was 59”, and 2016 is coming in at a close 55”

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hill Country Alliance's 7th Annual Rainwater Revival!

Come join BSEACD and many others for the  Hill Country Alliance's 2016 Rainwater Revival event November 5th (Saturday) at the Dripping Springs Ranch Park from 10 am to 4 pm in Dripping Springs. The day will be full of fun, education and celebration!

As we all know, water is scarce in the Texas Hill Country. With our drought-and-flood climate and stressed water supply, alternatives to traditional water project development can help increase reliability, conserve resources and protect the environment. An effective, desirable and responsible alternative is rainwater harvesting.
Now in its 7th year, the Rainwater Revival brings together homeowners, builders, vendors and conservation experts to connect, share and celebrate the ancient tradition of harvesting rainwater.
For more information visit here.

EP Aquifer Test Approved

Aquifer tests are an essential part of the District's permitting process.  The Board and staff rely heavily on results of these tests to inform permit volumes and conditions.

In the spring, Electro Purification (EP) submitted a test well application to allow them to perform an aquifer test on three wells.  District staff worked with EP to design and plan an aquifer test that meets District guidelines.  The aquifer test will measure responses to abbreviated pumping simulations from the target pumping zone (Middle Trinity--Cow Creek Formation) in surrounding Upper, Middle, and Lower Trinity wells (generalized stratigraphic column showing aquifers and associated formations).  The aquifer test is a collaborative effort between the District and EP and will take two to three months to complete.

Synopsis of aquifer test activities:
EP contractors will convert the Odell 1 well into a Lower Glen Rose monitor well.  They will plug the bottom portion of the well to seal off the Cow Creek formation, so water level monitoring in the Middle Trinity above the target pumping zone can be monitored.  Then EP contractors will develop and install temporary well completions in the three test wells that allow pumping to be isolated to the target pumping zone.  They will develop and test Bridges 1 then move to Bridges 2, then Odell 2.  During the development and testing, EP contractors and District staff will be sampling water quality and water levels.  EP contractors are responsible for monitoring/sampling wells on EP leases.  District staff are coordinating with surrounding well owners to monitor/sample additional monitor well sites.  As agreed with EP, District staff will be at the well site to observe key well development and testing activities.

In anticipation of community interest and information requests and to make the aquifer test more transparent to the groundwater community, the District (with EP's support) has created a Permit Notice: EP Aquifer Test web page with the following the following information:
  • Review process overview for EP test well application
  • Timeline of key application dates
  • Discussion of well development/aquifer testing procedures
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • EP's approved aquifer test plan

Monday, September 26, 2016

Fall Has Arrived! La Niña too?

Lovelady well height: 545.51 ft-msl (107.91 ft- Depth to Water)
Barton Springs: approxamately 113 cfs 10-day average

Fall 2016 has arrived and hopefully it will soon bring with it some much-desired cooler temperatures. However, one thing it may not be bringing is a La Nina. What will that mean for the coming fall and winter?
            We’re all well-familiar with El Niño after an extremely strong occurrence of the phenomenon brought unusually high rainfall totals throughout the spring and summer of this year (48.3 inches thus far in 2106).El Niño occurs when there are unusually high sea surface temperatures in the Pacific. Conversely, La Niña happens when there are unusually low sea surface temperatures. In Central Texas, El Niño brings unusually high rainfall in spring and summer, while La Niña brings rainfall in the fall and winter. For more information on both La Niña and El Niño, take a look at this page created by the Pacific Marine Environmental Library, part of NOAA.
Although surface water temperatures in the Pacific have been cooling since the peaks of El Niño, they are not decreasing at the rate climatologists had previously predicted. According to Reuters, U.S. government forecasters have decreased their prediction of a La Niña occurring from a probability of 76 percent (put forth in May) to just 36 percent. This month, NOAA officially dropped its “La Niña Watch,” in place since April.
All indicators are pointing to a no-Niña winter. That likely means it will also be a dry one. Regardless, fall greetings to all from BSEACD.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

2016 Hyro Geo Workshop! (Sept. 30th - Oct. 2nd)

Come spend the weekend with BSEACD, the Edwards Aquifer Authority and many others in real-world field settings, gaining valuable hands-on experience at the 2016 Hydro Geo Workshop September 30th through October 2nd.
The Texas Hydro-Geo Workshop is centered on the collection, processing, analysis and evaluation of hydrologic and geologic field data. It serves as an excellent introduction for aspiring geology, hydrology, and environmental science students, as well as a refresher for seasoned professionals. 
The Workshop was created to bring students and professionals together in a field setting for a hands-on learning experience. This is a special opportunity to work with leading researchers and practitioners from across the state and nation. Participants have the opportunity to explore many different techniques for collecting data from soil, rock, and water media. This includes drilling rigs, surface and borehole geophysics, stream gauging, water quality instruments and more.
Participants can select from the various modules depending upon availability. Please note that participation may be limited in some modules for safety reasons, to maintain a high participant/coordinator ratio, or for resource protection.
The Workshop will take place at and around Cave Without a Name near Boerne, Texas. Most activities will be centered at the campsite and pavilion.
Register here soon as there are only about 100 tickets left! 
Registration is $60.00 and ends Sept. 30th.

Friday, September 2, 2016

September 6th, National Protect Your Groundwater Day!

Lovelady well height: 544.45 ft-msl (108.97 ft- Depth to Water)
Barton Springs: approxamately 114 cfs 10-day average

The National Groundwater Association's National Protect Your Groundwater Day helps focus attention on how important groundwater is as a shared resource and encourages everyone to do their part to help protect groundwater resources.  The District agrees!

Everyone can and should do something to protect groundwater. Why? We all have a stake in maintaining its quality and quantity.  Here are a few statistics and details from the National Groundwater Association...

  • For starters, 99 percent of all available freshwater comes from aquifers underground. Being a good steward of groundwater just makes sense.
  • Furthermore, many public water systems draw all or part of their supply from groundwater, so protecting the resource protects the public water supply and impacts treatment costs.
  • If you own a well to provide water for your family, farm, or business, groundwater protection is doubly important. As a well owner, you are the manager of your own water system. Protecting groundwater will help reduce risks to your water supply.

For more information about local groundwater resources, tips and tricks for well maintenance, water quality information, treatment options, and other well owner resources, check out the District's Well Owner Guide.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Edwards & Trinity Water Levels Declining

Lovelady well height: 542.87 ft-msl (110.55 ft-Depth to Water)
Barton Springs: approximately 109 cfs 10-day average

Central Texas enters August with none of the area in drought conditions. This is directly the result of the wet winter and spring of 2015-2016 leading to some near-historic rainfall totals and high surface-water and groundwater levels. Groundwater levels in the Edwards and Trinity Aquifers reached their peak elevations in mid-June, and are now declining with the lack of rain in much of central Texas. The figure illustrates the rise and fall of aquifer levels in three wells in central Hays County for 2016.

As we enter a typical dry and hot Texas summer we are seeing the natural hydrologic response to those changing conditions--dropping water levels. The outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for the next few weeks calls for above-average temperatures and lower than average chances of rainfall. We are fortunate to have the high water-level conditions as we may enter La Niña conditions this fall and winter, which can result in drier than normal conditions.