“Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District Declares Drought Stage 2 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, it’s 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 stage 2 declaration 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 Stage 2 “Concern” by volunteering to reduce their groundwater use by 20%.

The voluntary drought plan instituted by Clearwater UWCD has been in place since 2010 and was very effective during the Epic Drought of 2011 and the concurrent drought 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 has responded due to the recent rains, and the District’s system of watching and recording rainfall averages over the Edwards Aquifer clarifies that “Concern” conditions still exist.  We expect 33 inches of rainfall over the previous 365 days in Bell County.  Couple this fact with the extremely low flow conditions in the Salado Creek fueled by the Spring Complex at 8.752 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 experiencing the hottest part of the summer and have had more than 34 consecutive days above 100 degrees, but just look at Salado Creek and the 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 and Lower Trinity layers of the Aquifer are very fragile. Reports are that many owners of private exempt wells are experiencing significant drawdown this month due to the drought conditions and the lack of regulation in Williamson County is contributing to the problem. Reports from local well drillers and landowners in the western portions of the Bell County area are having to lower their pumps as water levels are dropping more than 10 feet per year. One such well owner has stated simply “We are in Trouble”. Aaron has reports of more than 15 well owners who have had to lower their pumps in their domestic wells due to unforeseen excessive drawdowns. Landowners in both River Ridge Ranch and Hidden Springs also are experiencing these same problems. They are re-living the challenges of 2011-12. www.cuwcd.org  is the District’s website, and the Salado Creek Gauge can be found at https://cuwcd.org/salado-creek-gauges/ 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 I-35 and south of I-14, including parts of Williamson, Burnet, and Coryell Counties (critical recharge areas) experiencing even more alarming deficits of at least 12 inches in the last 365 days.  

Figure 1: Low Flows in Salado July 10th

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