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Stage III drought continues

By Megan Wehring 

HAYS COUNTY – Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) reported that 2022 was the worst drought year for the state since 2011. Little precipitation is causing Hays County and surrounding areas to be in a continuous drought. 

Last year started with a no-drought status due to a wet spring and summer in 2021, keeping spring flow and aquifer levels from going below Alarm Drought (Stage II) thresholds, according to the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD). However, that did not last the whole year. 

By June 2022, Barton Springs and Lovelady crossed under their Stage II thresholds and the BSEACD Board of Directors declared a Stage II Alarm Drought on June 9, 2022. Then, on Oct. 20, a Critical Drought (Stage III) was declared and has remained the same.

Reducing water use is now critical. With a continued lack of necessary rainfall and high rates of pumping, water levels could drop to the extent that some wells go dry. 

“We can’t afford to underestimate the threat that the current drought poses and the need for everyone to do their part to conserve water,” said BSEACD General Manager Tim Loftus in a news release.

TWDB reported that with a statewide average of 21.2 inches of precipitation and average of 66.5 degrees Fahrenheit, 2022 was the second driest and seventh warmest year for Texas since 2000. 

In Stage III, district permittees are required to implement mandatory measures to meet the following monthly pumpage reduction requirements.

• 30% for Edwards Historical and Conditional Class A permittees

• 75% for Edwards Conditional Class B permittees

• 100% for Edwards Conditional Class C and Class D permittees

• 30% for Trinity and Alluvial/Austin Chalk Historical permittees

For more information about water conservation, visit www.bseacd.org/education/water-conservation. 

The Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch is monitoring the drought conditions that are happening across the state of Texas. If you are a rancher, farmer or business owner concerned about the impact of the continued drought, email news@haysfreepress.com.

About Author

Megan Navarro (formerly Wehring) graduated from Texas State University in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. In June 2020, she started a summer internship at the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch through the Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association. She then earned her way to a reporter position later that summer and now, she serves as the editor of the newspaper. Working for a small publication, Navarro wears multiple hats. She has various responsibilities including managing a team of reporters, making editorial decisions, overseeing social media posts, fact checking, writing her own articles and more. Navarro has a heart for storytelling and she believes that journalists are equipped to share the stories that are important to the community.

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