Thursday, February 9, 2012

February Aquifer Update

Drought status: Critical
Barton Springs: 50 cfs (temporarily near long-term average)
Lovelady: 190.3 ft (above Critical, within Alarm Stage)

Despite the past 3 months of above-average rainfall, which did produce some recharge, we remain firmly within groundwater drought conditions. The rise in flow at Barton Springs will most certainly be fleeting, unless we get more rainfall. However, conditions are wet and the recharge that has occurred recently may allow for the Board to "upgrade" our drought status to Alarm. That will be discussed at the February 23rd Board Meeting. A little more time is needed to evaluate the recharge that has occurred and to see if the flow and levels will remain above Critical for more than just a couple weeks. We don't want to jump in and out of different drought declarations.

The short-term forecast (14 days) is for a wetter than normal period. That is good considering how wet things are and could result in even more runoff and recharge. And although the long-term predictions (3 month) are for drier-than-normal conditions--the previous long-term predictions have been wrong. The reason is this La Nina has been unusually wet and very different from normal La Nina--let's hope that continues. The Climate Prediction Center just issued a statement that La Nina is expected to transition to ENSO Neutral conditions in Marh-May. Thus, a return to more normal climatic conditions. Significant improvement in the drought could occur if we receive rainfall during during the Spring.

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