Limited rainfall over the last few weeks is leading officials to declare a Stage II alarm drought for the Edwards Aquifer, according to a Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District press release.
The decision, made by the BSEACD board of directors July 12, was handed down after the 10-day average for discharge at Barton Springs and several monitor wells fell below Stage II Drought thresholds. August will be the first month in 2018 that BSEACD will enforce its Stage II drought restrictions.
Under Stage II drought conditions, all district permittees are required to implement mandatory measures to meet monthly pumpage reduction. Cities such as Buda and Kyle both obtain Edwards Aquifer groundwater from the BSEACD via historical use permits.
All permitted must achieve at least a 20 percent reduction in monthly pumpage, according to the release.
Permittees with conditional permits will have to reduce use even further.
Reducing outdoor water use, such as limiting landscape irrigation, pool filling, and water fountains is “sufficient to reach monthly pumpage targets for Stage II Alarm Drought,” according to officials.
The last groundwater drought declaration ended Jan. 30, 2015, as recharge associated with years of above average rainfall helped to maintain water levels in area aquifers.
“Since May of this year, both flow at Barton Springs and the water level at the Lovelady monitor well have been declining,” according to a BSEACD release. “Recent rainfall has not generated the runoff needed to sustain creek flow in the creeks and rivers that recharge the aquifers.”