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Stage II Alarm Drought declared for Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 by Katy McElroy

Last week, the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District raised its drought status to Stage II Alarm Drought. The board of directors made this decision on July 12 because the 10-day average discharge at Barton Springs was below its drought stage threshold, and the level at the Lovelady monitor well, the other drought stage trigger site, was near its threshold. This is the first groundwater drought declaration in over three years, since the area had been seeing above-average rainfall that has replenished the aquifers. However, since May, the Barton Springs flow and and the water level at Lovelady have been declining without sufficient recharge. The district says that this Stage II Drought declaration requires, starting in August, “all (of the) District’s permittees to implement mandatory measures specified in their User Drought Contingency Plans to meet monthly pumpage reduction requirements. All permittees must achieve at least a 20% reduction in monthly pumpage. Permittees with conditional permits have to reduce use even further. 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.”

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