With at least two months of a hot Texas summer left, the Blanco water situation is becoming a serious concern. Water levels continue to decline in District Monitor Wells. Some well owners have had to lower pumps or, in a few cases, drill new and deeper wells. Rainfall is almost non-existent. There is no significant flow in Blanco County creeks and rivers. Future weather forecasts call for more of the same. Drought indicators for surface conditions are generally reporting extreme drought for Central Texas and these conditions are not expected to improve in the foreseeable future.
The hydrograph of one District Monitor Well shows that, for the third time in the last 5 years, our aquifers are declining to the point where we can expect water levels to drop rapidly. Not all wells will experience the rapid drop in water level as shown in the graph, but it might be considered the groundwater equivalent of a “canary in the coal mine.”
The Blanco Pedernales Groundwater Conservation District Board of Directors authorized the District’s General Manager, Ron Fieseler, to make some final water level observations and declare Drought Stage Three for Blanco County as of August 1, 2011, and will continue until further notice.
Under Stage Three, the District’s Drought Rules set a conservation goal of 20-50% reduction in groundwater use. Groundwater users can achieve the conservation goal reductions by following one or more of the water conservation methods listed below. Many well owners have already reduced pumpage by 20% or more as a result of conservation efforts implemented under Drought Stage Two. The Groundwater District appreciates these efforts, but now finds it necessary to ask groundwater users to try even harder to conserve water as we all attempt to get through this summer of drought.
Stage Three – Severe Drought
Conservation Goal: 20-50% reduction in groundwater use
Usage Reduction Measures:
• Continue, or increase, voluntary reduction in various uses
• Check for and correct all plumbing leaks
• Water outside lawns, trees, shrubs once every 5 to 7 days
• Water at night between hours of 8pm and midnight using hand-held hose with automatic shut-off nozzle or automatic timer
• Garden hose-end sprinkler systems prohibited
• Wash vehicles at car wash only as needed
• No washing of buildings, driveways, streets, patios, or other outdoor surfaces except as required for human or animal health and safety needs, or for fire prevention
• Watering for dust control only when required by law
• Livestock watered in leak-proof troughs strongly recommended
• Pumping groundwater into livestock ponds is discouraged
• Persons providing groundwater to ponds, lakes, tanks, reservoirs, swimming pools, or other surface impoundments for holding water can maintain no more than 50,000 gallons in storage.
The City of Blanco obtains surface water from Canyon Lake. Johnson City provides its customers well water from the Ellenburger Aquifer. Both cities have a TCEQ-approved Water Conservation and Drought Plan. In accordance with these plans, each city will notify its customers of any increase or decrease of drought conditions under their drought plans. Customers are required to comply with water use restrictions imposed by either city. If you are unsure of current water use restrictions, please contact the Water Utilities Department at your City Hall for further information.
General Manager Ron Fieseler points out that outside water demand is the largest use of groundwater, whether it is domestic landscaping, ball fields, agricultural crops, hay meadows, ponds, or a golf course. As a result, the largest reduction in groundwater use can be achieved by using the common-sense conservation measures for outside uses described above.
The District asks everyone to remember that our Blanco County groundwater is a precious resource. Please use it wisely.
If you have any questions or concerns about water wells, Drought Conditions, water conservation practices, or Blanco County groundwater resources, you should contact the District directly. The District is the primary source in Blanco County for aquifer questions, water level records, water quality data and testing, individual well records, and overall geology and hydrology information. The District Office is located at 601 West Main in Johnson City and the office phone number is (830) 868-9196. You can also email the General Manager, Ron Fieseler, at: .