BELL COUNTY (June 14, 2013)--The Trinity Aquifer in Bell County is being overused, officials said Friday, recommending a 20 percent water usage reduction for rural Bell County residents.
The rural areas that count on the Middle (Hensell) Trinity Aquifer as their sole source of household water are the River Ridge Development, Hidden Springs Development and the Stillman Valley Community which includes parts of Youngsport.
According to Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District General Manager Dirk Aaron, the Upper (Glen Rose) Trinity layer of the aquifer is experiencing an average drop in water levels at 2.98 feet per year, the Middle (Hensell) layer is seeing an average drop of 5.90 feet per year and the Lower (Hosston) Trinity layer is seeing an average drop in water levels at 7.31 feet per year, all over the past 6 years.
"We focused our efforts and analysis in those specific areas that depend solely on the Middle Trinity Aquifer. This is the layer that is most affordable to drill a new well ($25,000 or more) as compared to the Lower Trinity, which is much deeper and costly to produce from. In doing so, we found much greater drawdowns in those rural ranchette subdivisions such as the River Ridge Ranch, south of Killeen on the Lampasas River," Aaron said.
The 13.35 feet per year of drawdown over the last six years has resulted in a water level decrease of 80 feet.
Aaron also has concern about the Hidden Springs Ranchette Subdivision, southwest of Salado toward Florence.
"Research shows that the average family of three uses 6,000 to 10,000 gallons per day but our current estimates show that home owners with large expansive landscapes on 2 acre tracts or larger typically use in excess of 30,000 gallons per day," Aaron said.
Clearwater UWCD says many factors contribute to the drawdown and that the "unmanaged groundwater use in Williamson County is definitely contributing to the problem in Bell and Burnet counties."
Rural well owners in Bell County are encouraged to stop excessive use of groundwater for extreme landscapes and reuse water whenever possible.