“Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District Declares Drought Stage 1 for all well owners and operators of wells completed in both the Trinity Aquifer and Edwards BFZ Aquifer systems in Bell County,” says Dirk Aaron, General Manager.  “Folks its Real”

Aaron stressed in his capacity as General Manager, “The Districts Directors urges all businesses, and utilities dependent on groundwater wells to be supportive of this initial stage requesting conservation”.  This encouragement is also important for private well owners drawing from both aquifer systems across the County. All groundwater users are encouraged to actively conserve under the Stage 1 “Awareness” by volunteering to reduce their groundwater use by 10%.

The voluntary drought plan instituted by Clearwater UWCD has been in place since 2010 and was very effective during the Epic Drought of 2011, again in the summer of 2018 because well owners and operators understood the importance and reality of protecting their asset by reducing groundwater use.

Aaron stressed, “The Edwards Aquifer responds often due to the minimal rainfalls and the District’s system of watching and recording rainfall averages over the Edwards Aquifer clarifies that “Awareness” conditions still exist.  The Data shows that we are still 7 to 8 inches behind in the Edwards Recharge Zone. We expect 33 inches of rainfall over the previous 365 days.  Couple this fact with the extreme low flow conditions in the Salado Creek fuel by the Spring Complex is at 12.38 cubic feet per second.” Aaron states, “Conventional wisdom says that our District’s Staff and Board of Directors should be cautionary and measured. We are yet to experience the hottest part of the summer but just look at Stillhouse Lake, Lake Belton, Salado Creek, Lampasas and Leon Rivers if you don’t believe we are dry.”

Aaron also stressed the need for well owners in southwest Bell County to take this situation seriously because the Middle Trinity Aquifer is fragile. Reports are that many owners of private exempt wells are experiencing significant drawdown this month due to the drought conditions. One such well owner has stated simple we “We are in Trouble”. Landowners in both River Ridge Ranch and Hidden Springs will be experiencing these same problems. If not cautious we may re-living the challenges of 2011-12. The link “Click for Clearwater” CUWCD.ORG is the Districts website, “Monitor Wells” and Salado Creek Gage  “Click for Salado Springs Gage to see how problematic the situation really is if we continue to not receive rainfall.

Currently we are seeing rainfall deficits across our region and west of IH35 and south of I14, including parts of Williamson, Burnet and Coryell Counties (critical recharge areas) experiencing even more alarming deficits of at least 7 inches in the last 365 days.  

Figure 1: Low Flows in Salado July 2020

For more information call Clearwater UWCD at 254-933-0120 or email daaron@cuwcd.org