There are several key players when it comes to water monitoring in the Hill Country.  Each agency publishes data through different platforms and reports.  This page compiles useful references that can help get a more comprehensive view of water resources in the Hill Country.

Drought Severely Impacting Spring Flow and Groundwater Levels
July 2022 Hydro Report

Jacob’s Well water level with near-zero flow and downstream dam gates removed. Photo by Robin Gary, 11:30am, 7/18/2022.

Springs and monitor wells in both the Trinity and Edwards Aquifers show significant drought impacts. Jacob’s Well spring flow is fluctuating between 0.6 and 0.09 cfs.  Nearby pumping from water supply wells supplying Woodcreek are known to directly affect spring flow when the pumps are running.  The County suspended swimming at Jacob’s Well on June 29, 2022 due to high bacteria counts brought about by heavy recreational use and low flow.  A downstream dam usually causes water to pool around the Well creating better swimming conditions. Currently, the downstream dam gate has been removed to allow close monitoring of true spring flow from the Well itself.

Cypress Creek downstream of the Square has sections with no flow. Photo taken 7/22/22.

 

With such low flows, parts of Cypress Creek have gone dry and the deeper pools are being sustained by small local springs.

The upper section of the Blanco River has gone dry at several locations and is showing record lows at others. The LCRA station on the Blanco River at Blanco is showing daily averages of 0 cfs.  No water is making it over the spillway near the 165 bridge.  Baseflow for the section of the Blanco near Wimberley is provided by Pleasant Valley Springs and Park Springs and is measured at the USGS monitoring station on the Blanco at Fischer Store Rd.  Baseflow continues to decline and is at the lowest recorded flow since the USGS monitoring site was established in 2016.  Low spring flow translates to low flow in area creeks and rivers.

Robin Gary, Watershed Association

Groundwater levels are similarly affected by serious rainfall deficits (between 8-10 inches behind average year to date totals).  In fact, water levels in the Middle Trinity aquifer did not fully recover even in 2021. Drought and heavy water use continue to cause water level declines.  Edwards Aquifer water levels are also exceptionally low.  The Edwards Aquifer Authority J-17 drought index well is only 4 feet away from the threshold for a Stage 4 drought declaration.  The Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District Lovelady monitor well shows similar declines and is approximately 8 feet away from the next drought stage.

HTGCD Middle Trinity Monitor Well shows water levels never fully recovered to 2019 levels due to below average rainfall in 2021 and 2022.

All of the Hill Country is experiencing rainfall deficits which leading to pronounced drought conditions in our area.

May through September is considered the high-water-use season.  For many homes, outdoor irrigation increases substantially.  Most communities in the Hill Country are groundwater-dependent, so drought conditions are particularly troublesome for water supplies, recreation-based tourism, and springs and rivers.  Please follow groundwater district drought restrictions and local water provider drought water use guidance.  Limit outdoor irrigation and conserve water indoors.  Identify and fix leaks.  Conserve water to prolong water supplies until rainfall can replenish our aquifers. While we can’t control the weather, we can conserve water and look for innovative ways to use alternate supplies (like site-harvested supplies—rainwater and AC condensate) to lessen impacts of pumping. While each aquifer behaves differently, all groundwater is limited and deserves to be used wisely. For more information on native landscapes, rainwater harvesting, leak identification tips and more, visit the Home Owner Resource page.

No matter what area agencies call their drought declaration, coordinated water conservation is important to preserve groundwater availability, spring flow, and water supplies.

Agency Drought Stage Date Declared Details
Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer CD Stage II Alarm Drought (minimum of 20% Reduction) June 2022 Press Release, 6/9/2022
Blanco Pedernales GCD Stage 2 – 20% Reduction in pumping June 2022 Press Release, June 2022
Comal Trinity GCD
Cow Creek GCD Stage 3 – 30% Reduction in pumpage June 2022 Public Notice, 6/14/2022
Hays Trinity GCD 30% Curtailment for Jacob’s Well GMZ, 30% for remainder of the District July 2022 Board Order, 7/7/22
Edwards Aquifer Authority San Antonio Pool is in Stage 3 – 35% Reduction June 2022 Press Release, 6/13/22

[Updated 7/18/2022]


Annual rainfall average for Central Texas is approximately 33 inches per year.  To understand recharge potential, it’s important to track where rain falls, how fast it falls, and how saturated the soils are.  Key rain gages for the area are (upstream to downstream):

Realtime comparison of two key spring flow sites: (USGS gages: Blanco at Fischer Store–08170950 and Jacob’s Well–08170990)

Jacob’s Well Spring, Cypress Creek

Jacob’s Well is a Middle Trinity Aquifer spring that provides the baseflow for Cypress Creek.

    • Realtime data: USGS 08170990 Jacobs Well Spg nr Wimberley, TX
    • Spring flow is a strong indicator of groundwater levels in the Jacob’s Well Groundwater Management Zone (JW GMZ), because low spring flow directly correlates to low well water levels.
    • The 10-day average spring flow is a drought trigger for the HTGCD Jacob’s Well GMZ (Thresholds:  10% Curtailment: below 6 cfs; 20% Curtailment: below 5 cfs; 30% Curtailment: below 3 cfs).
    • Groundwater pumping causes 1 to 1.5 cfs fluctuation in flow and is more evident under low flow conditions.

Pleasant Valley and Park Spring, Blanco River

Pleasant Valley and Park Springs are Middle Trinity Aquifer springs that provide significant baseflow for the Blanco River, especially during dry periods.


The Hill Country’s iconic streams are known for their clear water and rocky bottoms.  Oftentimes, cracks, caves, and faults are visible in stream beds.  When creeks and rivers are flowing, these cracks, caves, and faults channel water from the surface into the groundwater system below.  Streamflow gages are strategically located to help monitor gaining (where springs are found) and losing (where recharge happens) sections of creeks and rivers. Key gages include:

Groundwater monitoring is an art.  TWDB, HTGCD, and BSEACD have extensive monitoring networks.

Key wells from west to east:

Archived Hydro Reports

Month   Cypress Creek – Jacob’s Well Blanco River – Pleasant Valley & Park Springs Date Published
2022 June Wide-spread Drought 6/16/2022
2022 April Drought Conditions Return 4/4/2022
2022 Feb Three-month Dry Spell Ends with Icy Precipitation 5.7 cfs 16.4 cfs 2/3/2022
2021 Nov Rain brings increases in spring flow and groundwater levels 19.2 cfs 22.5 cfs 11/14/21
2021 Oct Rain brings temporary increases in spring flow and groundwater levels 2.7 cfs 16.0 cfs 10/7/21
2021 Sept Water levels and spring flow on the decline (again) 2.6 cfs 28.1 cfs 9/16/2021
2021 July Spring flow increased, Groundwater levels still low 3.9 cfs 33.2 cfs 7/6/2021
2021 May Recharge! 2.2 cfs 13.5 cfs 5/18/2021
2021 April Lowest Groundwater Level Recorded Since 2005 1.4 cfs 11.4 cfs 4/22/2021
2021 March 2.4 cfs 13.5 cfs 3/10/2021
2021 January 0.3 cfs 11.8 cfs 1/19/2021
2020 December 1.3 cfs 16.8 cfs 12/8/2020
2020 November 1.1 cfs 17.1 cfs 11/11/2020
2020 October 1.7 cfs 17.7 cfs 10/25/2020
2020 September 6.5 cfs 25.2 cfs 9/14/2020

Please note:  Page under construction.  Please email robingary@wimberleywatershed.org with suggestions or questions.