Blanco County News
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Drought Stages Reduced
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 • Posted December 22, 2009

After reviewing rising water levels in District Monitor Wells, increased rainfall, the return of flow in local creeks and rivers, and future weather forecasts, the Blanco Pedernales Groundwater Conservation District Board of Directors has reduced drought conditions in Blanco County to less severe stages. The following hydrograph of one Monitor Well shows how current water levels are recovering to more normal levels. The District will continue to review aquifer and weather conditions with an eye toward the possible removal of all drought restrictions if conditions continue to improve.

The following drought conditions went into effect on November 19, 2009 and will continue until further notice.

Drought Conditions Reduced to Stage 2 in Precincts 1 and 4

In southern Blanco County, the District has reduced Stage Three Drought (Severe Drought) to Stage Two (Moderate Drought) for Precincts 1 and 4. The District-declared Stage Two Drought conditions affect both well owners and those whose water supply is provided by water wells located in Precincts 1 and 4.

The City of Blanco is on surface water and is not required to impose drought-related groundwater use restrictions on their customers. However, anyone who is served by that water system may find it prudent to voluntarily incorporate water conservation measures in order to help reduce demand on their surface water supplies.

Under Stage Two, the District's Drought Rules set a conservation goal of 20% reduction in groundwater use. Groundwater users can achieve the conservation goal reductions by following the water conservation methods listed below.

Stage Two - Moderate Drought

Conservation Goal: 20% 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 8am

• Keep swimming pools, landscape or decorative ponds, and fountains covered, use water recirculation, and refill only once every 5 to 7 days

• 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

• Water livestock in leak-proof troughs as much as practical

• Providing groundwater to ponds, lakes, tanks, reservoirs, swimming pools, or other surface impoundments for holding water that have a total capacity of more than 50,000 gallons is prohibited except for those wells permitted for non-domestic irrigation.

Drought Conditions Reduced to Stage 1 in Precincts 2 and 3

Precincts 2 and 3 in the northern part of Blanco County will decrease from Stage Two (Moderate Drought) to Stage One (Mild Drought). Water levels in monitor wells in those areas indicate that water levels are also trending upward.

The City of Johnson City provides its customers water from wells that pump from the Ellenburger Aquifer. Johnson City has a TCEQ-approved Water Conservation and Drought Plan. In accordance with this plan, Johnson City is currently in a non-drought condition. The District urges all groundwater users in northern Blanco County to continue to voluntarily practice water conservation. Hopefully, if rainfall and aquifer recharge continues, the rest of northern Blanco County should return to a non-drought condition in early 2010.

Under Stage One, the District's Drought Rules set a conservation goal of 5-10% reduction in groundwater use. Groundwater users can achieve the conservation goal reductions by following the water conservation methods listed below.

Stage One - Mild Drought

Conservation Goal: 5-10% reduction in groundwater use

Usage Reduction Measures:

• Continue, or increase, voluntary reduction in various uses

• Check for and correct all plumbing leaks

• Providing groundwater to ponds, lakes, tanks, reservoirs, swimming pools, or other surface impoundments for holding water that have a total capacity of more than 50,000 gallons is prohibited except for those wells permitted for non-domestic irrigation.

The District is grateful for the water conservation efforts of well owners during the last several months. This helped us get through the terrible drought conditions of 2008 and 2009 and now, with the increase of rainfall over the last two months, has allowed the District to reduce Drought Stages and water use restrictions.

Drought conditions such as we have recently experienced stress not only the aquifer, but also those of us who rely on groundwater for our daily needs. The District believes that we can get through these trying times if we remember that our Blanco County groundwater is our most valuable resource. We must all 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: manager@blancocountygroundwater.org.

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