Latest from the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District

Friday, June 3, 2016
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Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District
Director Precincts Redistricted


New Director Precinct boundaries that extend representation into the Shared Territory annexed in response to House Bill 3405 were finalized at the May 26, 2016 Board meeting after extensive research, a public hearing, consideration of numerous public comments, and Board deliberation. The precincts extend into the shared territory in Hays County and group communities of interests and their common sources of water supply.  Very generally, there are two City of Austin urban precincts, one I-35 corridor urban precinct (with combined surface and groundwater supplies), and two rural precincts (one primarily Edwards Aquifer users, one primarily Trinity Aquifer users).


The Board resolution, interactive map with address search and additional information are now available online through the Redistricting Spotlight on the home page.




GMA 10 and Desired Future Conditions 

The District is a voting member of Groundwater Management Area (GMA) 10 which is responsible for setting the collective groundwater management goals for the GMA’s aquifers including the Edwards Aquifer and the down dip potions of the Trinity Aquifer.  As a voting member, the District has been actively involved in setting this second round of Desired Future Conditions (DFCs) which are planning goals describing the future aquifer condition that all member Districts will manage to preserve.  The “proposed” DFCs were approved by the GMA on March 14, 2014 and a public hearing was held by the District on May 26th to solicit public input.


Draft chapters of the explanatory report describing factors considered in setting the DFCs including a detailed technical analysis of proposed pumping from the Trinity Aquifer in Hays County were provided as supporting documents for the hearing.  Interested parties are encouraged to provide input on the proposed DFCs during the public comment period which remains open until close of business on June 20, 2016.  More information on the proposed DFCs is available at the Board Meeting Announcement Spotlight on the District’s website.



Teacher Training: Groundwater to the Gulf 

Each summer, 13 water-related agencies in Central Texas combine forces to host Groundwater to the Gulf: A summer institute for educators.  50 lucky teachers join us to tour the local water science hot spots in Central Texas… for FREE.


It is always a packed agenda.  Among many other things, this year’s teachers will go caving at the LBJ Wildflower Center, canoeing on Barton Creel (weather permitting), explore the Highland Lakes and Dams exhibit at LCRA’s Redbud Center, hike the Canyon Lake Gorge, and go for a glass bottom boat tour of Aquarena Springs.  At each field trip site, experts will discuss local water issues, research, and classroom activities to bring this experience back to students.


Space is limited and sign-up is on a first-come basis.  Alumni from Groundwater to the Gulf trainings can reserve a slot for Day 3 (which will change venue and topics each year) if space is available.  It’s a great way to keep skills fresh and network with other water-science teachers!


This year’s Institute will be June 21-23, 2016.  The Colorado River Alliance hosts the registration and information page.  Find out more at Groundwater to the Gulf.  Hope to see you there!



Edwards Aquifer Near Record High LevelsThe Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer has reached levels that have not been seen in the past 24 years. With rainfall totals over the past 13 months being well above average and with continual flow in the major creeks and rivers, water is recharging the aquifer at high rates (see figure below). Aquifer conditions are determined by flow measurements from Barton Springs as well as the level of water in the Lovelady monitor well, located in South Austin.



At 4:00 pm on May 31, 2016, the water level in the Lovelady well rose above a previous peak level from April 25, 2003. This level of 536.2 ft msl (above mean sea level) was the second highest water level measured in the Lovelady well. The highest level ever measured in the well was on June 7, 1992 with a level of 546.1 ft. Drought conditions for the aquifer are considered to be when the water level drops below 478.4 ft.


Flow conditions at Barton Springs are similarly high. Flooding of Barton Springs pool, due to storm events, makes measurement of flow difficult. However, the current estimate of flow from Barton Springs was reported as 117 cfs (cubic feet per second) by USGS.  Average flows from Barton Springs are 53 cfs.  The District declares drought when Barton Springs flow drops below 38 cfs.


The aquifer was still in drought in November 2014 when, owing to El Nino conditions and high rainfall in September and November, water levels started rising. Other than a dry summer of 2015, water levels have continued to rise to where they are now. For the past 13 months, the District weather station has measured a total of 71.3 inches of rain compared to average rainfall of 38 inches.  Rainfall at Camp Mabry for these 13 months has totalled 65.8 inches.


Onion Creek, which is a major contributor of recharge to the aquifer, has been flowing continuously since October 30, 2015.  Sustained flow in the creeks will cause water levels to continue rising. With the recently reported end to El Nino, drier conditions might be what to expect in the near future. But, with the currently high aquifer levels, drought conditions for the aquifer are not likely to occur before the end of 2016.


Celebrating 2016 Scholarship Winners 

Each year, the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, in collaboration with our permittees, offers scholarships for 2 different age groups.  With help from Creedmoor Maha Water Supply, Texas Lehigh Cement Company, and Centex Materials, we were able to award 7 summer camp scholarships for Texas State University’s Aquatic Science Adventure Camp and one college scholarship.



This year’s winner of the $2,500 college Kent Butler Memorial Groundwater Stewardship Scholarship was Eliza Cain of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy for her essay titled “Past, Present, and Future of Texas Groundwater Law.”


The winners of the summer camp scholarships were :

Jacob Meredith Ralph Pfluger Elem.
Liam Prude Eden Park Academy
Eliot Reynolds Clint Small Elem.
Ethen Jensen Paredes Middle School
Audrey Majors Jacob’s Well Elem.
Ella Pettiette Ralph Pfluger Elem.
Emma Pettiette Barton Middle School


Congraulations to all our winners!  Keep in touch and do great things!


Upcoming Events, Meetings, & Deadlines

Thurs., Jun. 16:   BSEACD Board Meeting (details)
Thurs., Jun. 23:   BSEACD Board Meeting
Jun 21-23:           Groundwater to the Gulf (details)
Fri., Jul. 1:            Permittee meter readings due (details)
Mon., Jul. 4:         Office closed for Independence Day
Thurs., Jul. 14:   BSEACD Board Meeting
Thurs., Jul. 28:   BSEACD Board Meeting

Current Drought Stage:NO DROUGHT

The District uses two drought triggers to manage pumping and coordinate conservation.


10-day avg flow:  116 cfs



Water level:  536ft above msl

Published by – Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District1124 Regal Row – Austin, TX 78748 – 512-282-8441

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