Thursday, February 26, 2015

Aquifer Still Recharging

No Drought Status
Lovelady monitor well: 486.6 ft-msl
Barton Springs: 78 cfs 10-day average

District staff visited a tract of land in the recharge zone of the Barton springs segment of the Edwards aquifer with access to Onion Creek. Staff conducted two flow measurements about 1.5 miles apart. The upstream measurement was of 25 cfs, while the downstream measurement was of 4 cfs. The difference between the amount of flow at the two locations is due to a number of important karst features in the creek bed that are providing water to the aquifer, thus recharging groundwater.

Below see the hydrograph for Lovelady monitor well which shows water levels continuing to rise.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Out of Drought Conditions, Water Levels Continue to Rise

No Drought
Lovelady monitor well: 483.4 ft-msl
Barton Springs 10-day avg discharg: 82 cfs

On January 29th the District Board of Directors voted to end the drought declaration that had been place since August last year. The last few months of 2014 brought with them fairly consistent rain and cold winter temperatures which minimized water lost to evapotranspiration. These conditions were prime for generating runoff and sustained flow in the creeks where most of the recharge to the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer occurs. As a result, water levels in the aquifer have been on the rise since mid-November. Almost 5.5 inches of rain fell at the District office in January, continuing the wet trend seen towards the end of 2014 and further contributing to recharging the aquifer. Flow at Barton Springs appears to be peaking at around 82 cfs, whereas Lovelady monitor well water level continues to rise. The Climate Prediction Center places a 50-60% chance El Niño conditions developing during the remaining winter months of 2015, which generally mean wetter conditions in central Texas. Fortunately, we have been able to exit drought even without the help of an El Niño.  While it’s nice to have aquifer levels above drought levels and for groundwater users to be relieved of drought restrictions for a while, one look at the highland lakes shows that drought conditions remain of looming concern here in central Texas.