BELL COUNTY (April 30, 2013)--In a statement released Tuesday, Clearwater Underground Water Control District said it is concerned about the deteriorating conditions of the Trinity and Edwards Aquifers in Bell County resulting from the state’s persistent drought.
For more than six years both aquifers have been monitored and Clearwater UWCD employees say the drought conditions could get worse in the coming months.
"We fear that with homeowners, businesses and permit holders always increasing their historical use of water in late spring and summer months, we could see tremendous decline in water storage and even spring-flow by late summer. The only way to see an improvement is to ask for water conservation by reducing our use for landscape purposes," General Manager Dirk Aaron said.
The drought status has been assessed at Stage 2 in which a 20 percent usage reduction is recommended across Bell County.
The health of the Edwards Aquifer, which covers an area of approximately 4,000 square miles from the Rio Grande River to the town of Salado, is measured in three ways including rainfall measurement based on a 365-day running total, spring-flow measurements in downtown Salado, and static water levels of local wells.
As of April 29, an average of only 19.81 inches of rain was received in the last 365 days, an indication of poor health, Aaron said.
More troubling is the drawdown in wells in the western half of Bell County.
“These wells continue to express drawdown in the layer of the aquifer known as the Middle Trinity,” he said.
“This layer is somewhat deeper than Edwards wells yet still affordable to construct a well for domestic purposes,” he said.
"The only positive measurement is that our static water level measurements in Edwards monitor wells across the Salado watershed document that excessive decline is not occurring at this time,” he said.
“We believe it's because people respect the need for conservation and are aware we need to avoid excessive usage,” he said.
“This is not the case in the Trinity Monitor Wells, we are seeing a steady decline, thus conservation is warranted by those private well owners as well as our Trinity permit holders," Aaron said.
Well owners are also encouraged to fix leaks, reuse water, limit use for washing vehicles and avoid use for washing buildings or outdoor surfaces unless required for human or animal safety.