Thursday, October 31, 2013

Another Rain Bomb

Stage II Alarm Drought

As of the time of this posting 2 to 9+ inches of rain have fallen on the recharge and contributing zones of the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer. This morning many of the area's creeks and rivers are flowing at flood stages similar (or greater) in magnitude to those brought about by the storm event on October 13th.

 Blanco River at Wimberley experienced a rise exceeding 20 ft and about 66,000 cfs (much more than the Oct 13). Onion Creek at Driftwood saw over 12 ft of rise and reached about 12,700 cfs (also much bigger than the Oct 13). Slaughter Creek rose to about 11 ft and flowed at 3,500 cfs (about the same as Oct 13 so far) Barton Creek at 360 had a 12+ ft rise, 8,500 cfs (less than Oct 13)

Some of the creeks may continue to rise throughout the day. 

This rain may have produced enough recharge to remove drought conditions in the coming weeks. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Aquifer Conditions Improving

Stage III Critical Drought
Lovelady monitor well: 465.32 ft-msl
Barton Springs: approx. 65 cfs 10-day average

Water levels in the aquifer continue to climb after the storm on October 12-13 that brought 6.8 inches to the District rain gauge and over 12 inches in areas nearby. Lovelady monitor well water level has come up over 6 feet since the beginning of October. It is unclear whether the storms were enough to get us completely out of drought or for how long we water level will continue to rise, but levels have improved beyond the threshold between Stage II Alarm and Stage III Critical drought.
Flow at Barton Springs has also dramatically increased; District staff measured flow this morning to be about 68 cfs.
This evening the District's board of directors will convene and may vote to downgrade the drought severity to Stage II Drought.

Make sure to follow the District on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Floods put us on the Right Track but not out of Drought yet

Stage III Critical Drought

Heavy rains (and floods) over the October 12 through 13 weekend have brought about much needed flow in the creeks that cross the recharge zone of the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer.  Water levels in the aquifer started to rise slowly in mid-September following two rain events that brought a total of 4.4 inches to the District rain gage.  September ended with a total of 6.8 inches of rain at the District.  The October 12-13 rain event brought over 12 inches of rain to an area near Loop 360 and Barton Creek, 8 inches in Shady Hollow, with lesser amounts over the remainder of the recharge and contributing zones.  Aquifer levels in the Lovelady monitor well rose about a foot between September 18 and October 12.  Following the October 12-13 rain event, the water level in the well rose about 1.2 ft over a 4-day period.  A further rise of about 2.3 ft will move us into Stage II Alarm Drought from our current Stage III Critical Drought.  We can’t say that the end of the drought is in sight, but we are at least on the right track, for now.

Below see a video of Slaughter Creek on the morning of Sunday October 13.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Error in Reported USGS Discharge at Barton Springs

The reported Barton Springs flow values (here) from the USGS website are not presently accurate due to the Government Shutdown. Small adjustments to the pool level due to pool management affect the nearby USGS gage used to estimate springflow. The USGS makes adjustments to the gage-springflow relationship to compensate for changes in the pool level. However, with staff on furlough, those adjustments are not occurring and so the gage is erroneously reporting some of the lowest values ever recorded (9.9 today, the lowest during 1956 was 9.6 cfs). We know that is not true. Manual measurement this week was about 24 cfs.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

October Aquifer Update

Drought Status: Stage III Critical
Barton Springs: 19 cfs (10-day average)*
Lovelady: 458.9

Recent rains have helped to bring springflow and water levels upward a little bit (see chart below). However, without sustained recharge from flowing creeks, we will soon be back into a declining trend. Onion Creek near Driftwood, for example is only flowing about 2 cfs--not enough to provide recharge to the aquifer.

The U.S. Seasonal Outlook through December is for the drought to persist. Tropical or Hurricane systems will likely be the best potential for rainfall, although those bring their own problems.