Thursday, June 25, 2009

Second lowest springflow in 30 years and second lowest water level since the 1950's

Current Conditions: Critical Stage
Barton Springs: 17.4 cfs (10-day average); daily value 16 cfs
Lovelady Well: 196.0 ft

(Picture shows a trickle flowing from Old Mill Spring, one of the spring that makes up the collective Barton Springs, photo taken June 25, 2009)

The current drought is producing some of the lowest springflow and aquifer levels that have been recorded.

The daily flow of 16 cfs at Barton Springs is the equivalent of the lowest discharge during the 2000 drought, and is approaching the lowest springflow reached during 1989-90 drought of 14 cfs. That makes this the second lowest springflow period since they began recording daily values 30 years ago in 1978!

Water levels at the Lovelady well are also reaching historic depths--currently only 9 measurements are deeper, and those almost all date from the 1950's drought of record, with one deep value from 1990. That makes the current water depth the second deepest since the drought of record in the 1950's!

Unfortunately, we are experiencing record heat and the forecast is bleak in terms of the rain outlook. Hopefully weather patterns will change, or a tropical system will bring rain.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NEW REPORT: Global Climate Change Impacts in the US

Image source: RedOrbit

The United States Global Change Research Program released a report of the most comprehensive and authoritative report of its kind. The report summarizes the science and the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future.

Click here for a link to the website and report.

Some Key findings include:

* Climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow. Climate-related changes are already observed in the United States and its coastal waters. These include increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the ocean and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows. These changes are projected to grow.

* Crop and livestock production will be increasingly challenged. Agriculture is considered one of the sectors most adaptable to changes in climate. However, increased heat, pests, water stress, diseases, and weather extremes will pose adaptation challenges for crop and livestock production.

* Threats to human health will increase. Health impacts of climate change are related to heat stress, waterborne diseases, poor air quality, extreme weather events, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents. Robust public health infrastructure can reduce the potential for negative impacts.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

(San Antonio) Edwards Aquifer Authority declares Critical Period Stage II

Picture shows San Marcos River flow from Aquarena Springs Lake (San Marcos Springs) from June 2009.

SAN ANTONIO (June 18, 2009) – The Edwards Aquifer Authority today declared stage two of the region’s critical period management plan, further limiting how much groundwater can be pumped from the Edwards Aquifer across a seven-county area of south-central Texas.

Citing declining aquifer levels that are the result of a continuing drought and seasonal demand on the aquifer, the Authority declared stage two for Edwards groundwater users within the San Antonio Pool of the Edwards Aquifer region. This includes all of Bexar and Medina, and parts of Atascosa, Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays counties. Uvalde County, which comprises the Uvalde Pool, is the only county within the Authority’s jurisdiction not affected by stage two reductions.

Edwards groundwater permit holders are required to cut back pumping from the aquifer by 30 percent off their authorized annual withdrawal amounts for the time stage two is in effect. The stage two reductions are 10 percent more than required under stage one. Under stages one and two, all affected permit holders also are required to report their pumping totals to the Authority on a monthly basis.

Secondary users of Edwards groundwater, such as residents and businesses who receive their water from a public utility system or water company, are encouraged to contact their water provider to find out how stage two reductions may affect them directly. More information on stage two requirements is available by calling the Authority’s critical period team at (866) 931-3239 or by visiting the Authority’s website at

Source: Edwards Aquifer Authority Press Release

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Critical Drought Stage Remains, forecast for drought to intensify

Drought Status: Critical Stage
Barton Springs flow : 17 cfs
Lovelady Well (depth to water): 195.7 ft

Recently, the outlook for this drought was revised by the drought prediction center offering a gloomy forecast of "drought conditions to persist or intensify."