“With good reason, meteorologists were predicting a dry winter and spring. I'm glad they were wrong. We received record rainfall just above the recharge zone—just where we needed it. The Edwards Aquifer has been replenished, but it's far from an aquifer-full state. Now that we've got water in the bank, we've all got to use it wisely. These droughts reinforce how valuable water really is. We know the next drought is coming, we just don’t know when, or how long it will last,” noted Kirk Holland, the District’s General Manager.
Dr. Brian Smith, a principal hydrogeologist at the District, explained, “Onion Creek above the recharge zone has been flowing since mid-February. The rains in December and January eventually saturated the soil zone, which was in a severely parched state from last year’s record dryness and heat, and finally produced run-off to streams. Water makes its way through fractures and caves in creek beds into the aquifer. Four months of above average rainfall have contributed major amounts of recharge to the aquifer.”
Holland commented, “Water conservation needs to be integrated into all aspects of our daily lives here in Central Texas. Prolonged dry periods are part of our natural climate cycle. I hope as our groundwater users plan for the coming year, the vulnerability of their water supplies is kept in mind, and our end-users commit to reducing their water-use footprint and thereby conserve and protect their groundwater resources.”
Typically, water use peaks from May through September because of a sharp increase in outdoor irrigation. Even in No-Drought status during these months, end users are asked to comply with a voluntary 10% reduction in water use to help extend water resources through the summer. Conserving water can prolong the time spent in no-drought conditions, preserve water levels, and keep springflow at Barton Springs above the drought thresholds.