Thursday, April 24, 2014

Stage II Alarm Drought Declared

Stage II Alarm Drought
Barton Springs discharge: 46 cfs 10-day average
Lovelady Monitor Well: 477.83

This evening the District's Board of Director's declared Stage II Alarm drought based on the water level in Lovelady monitor well, falling below its drought threshold of 478.4 ft-msl. Barton Springs flow remains above its drought threshold flow, but is expected to drop below sometime in May. For more information please visit the District website.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Recent Rains not enough to end Declining Trend; Groundwater Drought Near

Barton Springs discharge: 47 cfs (10-day average)
Lovelady Monitor Well: 478.89 ft-msl

The weather this week brought with it strong gusts of winds, hail, and in some places more than an inch of rain over the course of a few minutes. Despite the dramatic downpour, runoff and flow in creeks over the recharge zone of the aquifer did not amount to much. Water level in the Lovelady monitor well was not noticeably influenced, see figure below. At the time of this post, Lovelady monitor well is about 0.5 feet above its Stage II Drought threshold. Over the past month or so, water level in the well has been decreasing on average 0.2 feet per day. It is likely the District's board will make a drought declaration at their next meeting, which is scheduled for next Thursday, April 24.  Barton Springs is flowing at 47 cfs and may not cross its drought threshold of 38 cfs until mid May. 
Currently, the US Drought Monitor rates much of central Texas as undergoing Abnormally Dry to Extreme Drought conditions. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) expects drought in much of the western 2/3 of Texas to intensify during the Spring of 2014 due to prevailing El Niño-Neutral conditions. Despite the grim prediction for the remainder of Spring, the CPC place better than 50% odds that El Niño conditions will develop by this summer. El Niño, generally, means wetter than normal conditions for Texas.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Small Weekend Rain, No Runoff

Barton Springs discharge: 48 cfs 10-day average
Lovelad Monitor well: 480.8 ft-msl

The rain gauge at the District office collected 0.21 inches from the rain that came through the area this weekend. Campy Mabry had a similar total rainfall of 0.20 inches. Before the rain this weekend, the District rain gauge had not received rain since mid-March. At the time of this post, the hydrographs for Lovelady monitor well and Barton Springs do not seem to have been significantly influenced by this weekend's rain. It appears that we are still on track to reach Lovelady well's Stage II Alarm Drought threshold by the end of April unless substantial precipitation occurs.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Groundwater Drought Looming Near

No-Drought Conditions
Barton Springs Flow: 49 cfs (10-day average)
Lovelady Well: 481.73 ft-msl

Water level in Lovelady monitor well is just over 3 feet above its Stage II Alarm drought threshold. Unless meaningful recharge to the aquifer occurs, that threshold could be crossed near the end of April. Barton Springs flow is expected to cross its drought threshold some time after Lovelady, possibly mid-May. It only takes one of these sites to cross its respective drought threshold for the District to make a drought declaration. Despite seeing an improvement in precipitation from the months preceding it, rainfall of 1.6 inches in March was short of its 2.2 inch historic average. The District rain gauge received 1/100 of an inch in the last two weeks of March. At the time of this posting, thunderstorms are in the forecast for today and tomorrow. Given the dry conditions, rain that falls now may not be enough to slow the descent into drought, but would prime soil moisture conditions for subsequent rains to generate surface runoff and flow in the creeks, where the majority of recharge to the aquifer occurs.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that drought will persist or intensify in most of the western half of the state, while some chance of improvement exists for the eastern half. Click here to go to their website.