Aquifer district declares Stage 2 Alarm Drought

Water users pulling water from the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District were recently notified that they are under Stage II Alarm Drought regulations.

The warning went into effect Oct. 8, after the board of directors voted on the matter at its regular meeting.

The declaration of drought is based on readings from various wells in the region.

The Lovelady Monitor Well passed below its respective drought trigger in late September. Only one of the two drought stage triggers needs to be reached for a drought declaration to be made. The district acknowledges that indoor use may be heightened in some cases due to COVID-19 responses, however it is still a shared duty to reduce all non-essential water use during drought.

The last groundwater drought declaration commenced on July 12, 2018 and ended on Oct. 11, 2018. Recharge in late 2018 and early 2019 associated with above-average rainfall helped maintain water levels in area aquifers until recently. Since July of 2019, both flow at Barton Springs and the water level at the Lovelady monitor well have been declining. As of early April 2020, both have been hovering near trigger levels.

Recent rainfall has not generated enough runoff to sustain creek flow in the creeks and rivers that recharge the aquifers.

Declaration of Stage II Alarm Drought requires all district permittees to implement mandatory measures specified in their User Drought Contingency Plans (UDCPs) to meet monthly pumpage reduction requirements.

• 20% for Edwards Historical and Conditional Class A permittees,
• 50% for Edwards Conditional Class B permittees,
• 100% for Edwards Conditional Class C and Class D permittees, and
• 20% for Trinity and Alluvial/Austin Chalk Historical permittees

End-user customers served by water utilities on groundwater wells are required to comply with their utility’s water use restrictions for this drought stage. Generally, restricting outdoor water use, including limiting landscape irrigation, pool filling and refilling, and non-essential water use such as water fountains, is sufficient to reach monthly pumpage targets for Stage II Alarm Drought. November is the first month that permittees will need to meet reductions in pumpage. Permittees should refer to the monthly drought allocations listed in their User Drought Conservation Plan (UDCP) and Drought Target Charts.

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