by ANDY SEVILLA
Buda’s main water source and a major contributor to Kyle’s public works, the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer, could soon enter into Stage III Critical Drought status.
“The current water level in the (Lovelady monitor) well is just over a foot above the elevation marking the onset of a Stage III Critical Drought,” said a March 8 Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD) online blog post. “Water level in the well is steadily dropping and will likely cross into Stage III drought before the end of (March).”
BSEACD drought thresholds are measured through flow at Barton Springs and through water levels at the Lovelady monitor well, though only one drought trigger below its threshold is required to enter into the corresponding drought stage.
BSEACD board directors are scheduled to meet March 21, where they will deliberate declaring the district under Stage III Critical Drought.
At critical drought, a 30 percent reduction in historical permit pumping is called for. Buda’s historical permit is 275 million gallons, while Kyle gets 165 million. Kyle also has a Class B Conditional Permit from the water district, which allows the city to pump an added 185 million gallons, although during critical drought stage that amount is curtailed by 75 percent.
The critical drought classification could prove to be particularly difficult for BSEACD users as it would come shortly before the high water use period – May through September.
At BSEACD’s Nov. 15 board meeting, the directors declared the district at Stage II Alarm Drought, setting off 20 percent reductions in monthly historical permit pumping for the 60,000 groundwater users in northern Hays, southern Travis and western Caldwell counties.
Buda declared Stage I drought restrictions on Nov. 27, which called for water conservation measures to be enacted. Buda water customers’ irrigation has been restricted to the hours between midnight and 10 a.m., and 7 p.m. to midnight on the customer’s designated watering day. The washing of impervious surfaces, like driveways and parking lots, is prohibited unless it poses health and safety issues.
Kyle, too, has been under Stage 1 drought restrictions. Kyle’s water conservation period began May 1 and the city’s water customers have been under a voluntary twice per week watering schedule. Outdoor irrigation in Kyle is allowed except in between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Kyle water users are also prohibited from letting water pool to a depth greater than a quarter-inch or to run off the property more than 50 feet.
An official with the Buda water department said once the BSEACD declares Stage III Critical Drought, the city will follow suit and declare Stage II drought within its boundaries.
Kyle, however, should remain at Stage 1 drought restrictions despite the added alarm at the BSEACD.
Kyle Utilities Coordinator Jason Biemer said that Kyle’s voluntary water conservation measures have been effective and that raising the drought restrictions is not warranted at this time.
Biemer said that recent figures show that only 21 percent of Kyle’s water is being pumped from the BSEACD and 79 percent is surface water from Canyon Lake, which is governed by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA).
But, for Buda, 60 percent of its water is being pumped from the BSEACD and 40 percent is being supplied by the GBRA, according to its website.
- Buda eases drought restrictions due to rainy weather 03/1/2012
- Stage 2 drought in Kyle 05/15/2013
- Stage 3: Aquifer crosses critical level 09/7/2011