Aquifer District declares alarm drought status

November 16th, 2012 at 4:58 pm by under Weather

The Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District declared an Alarm Drought Status Friday. Customers who use water from the Edwards Aquifer now have to reduce their consumption by 20-percent.

From BSEACD:

At its November 15 Board meeting, the Board of Directors of the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District declared ‘Stage II Alarm Drought’ for the District, effective immediately.  The drought declaration affects authorized water use by some 60,000 groundwater users in northern Hays, southern Travis, and western Caldwell counties.

The Lovelady Monitor Well, in the Edwards Aquifer and located in South Austin, dipped below its Alarm threshold of 478.4 feet above mean sea level on November 7th.  The 10-day average discharge at Barton Springs, the District’s other official drought indicator, also dipped below its Alarm threshold of a 10-day average of 38 cubic feet per second, based on BSEACD manual measurements a few days later.  For the Board to officially declare drought, only one drought indicator has to cross below its trigger threshold.  In this instance, both the water level in the Lovelady Monitor Well and springflow at Barton Springs were below their respective triggers prompting the drought declaration.

Declaration of Stage II Alarm Drought requires all of the District’s permittees to implement measures specified in their User Drought Contingency Plans to meet monthly pumpage reduction requirements.  All permittees must achieve at least a 20% reduction in monthly pumpage.  Permittees with certain conditional permits may have to reduce use even further.  End-user customers served by water utilities on groundwater wells are required to comply with their utility’s water use restrictions for this drought stage.  Generally, restricting outdoor water use, including limiting landscape irrigation, pool filling & refilling, and non-essential water use such as water fountains, is sufficient to reach monthly pumpage targets for Stage II Alarm Drought.

Since January 1, the Aquifer District has recorded approximately 35 inches of rainfall, which already exceeds the yearly average for the area (33.38 inches). However despite above average rainfall this year, it has not been enough to generate runoff to recharge the aquifer and to sustain non-drought water levels.  This is probably due in part to the exceptional rainfall deficit and low water levels in the aquifer in 2011. Many area surface water and groundwater resources face similar drought conditions.  Water conservation now will help slow water level declines and protect water availability for groundwater users.

 

It’s not a big surprise considering our drought is worsening here in Central Texas according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. Severe drought has crept back into Gillespie county.

The forecast doesn’t look great either. The Climate Prediction Center’s drought outlook shows persistence and even developing drought over Central and South Texas.

Here’s more from the National Weather Service:


DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
240 PM CST THU NOV 15 2012

...DROUGHT CONDITIONS GET SLIGHTLY WORSE ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS...

SYNOPSIS...

NOVEMBER CONTINUES TO BE MUCH DRIER THAN AVERAGE ACROSS THE AREA.
OVER THE NEXT WEEK THERE WILL BE A COUPLE OF CHANCES FOR
RAINFALL...BUT OUTLOOKS FOR THE NEXT 10 TO 14 DAYS ARE NOT LOOKING
PROMISING FOR SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL. ON AVERAGE WE USUALLY SEE ABOUT
TWO INCHES OF RAIN ACROSS THE REGION DURING THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER.
SHORT TERM DROUGHT IMPACTS ARE ONCE AGAIN BEING FELT ACROSS THE
REGION ALONG WITH THE CONTINUED LONG TERM IMPACTS. LAKES AND
RESERVOIRS CONTINUE TO FALL WITH THE RECENT LACK OF WIDESPREAD
RAINFALL. EVAPORATION RATES ARE LOWER AND TEMPERATURES ARE COOLER
SO LEVELS HAVE NOT FALLEN AS RAPIDLY AS WE SAW DURING THE SUMMER.
ANY SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL EVENTS WILL HELP THE LONGER TERM DROUGHT
IMPACTS LIKE RESERVOIR LEVELS AND LAKE LEVELS.

THE CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER (CPC) IS NOW CALLING FOR AN ENSO (EL
NINO SOUTHERN OSCILLATION) NEUTRAL PATTERN FOR THE NORTHERN
HEMISPHERE WINTER. THE PROSPECTS FOR A WEAK EL NINO EVENT HAVE
DIMINISHED. THIS IS NOT THE BEST NEWS SINCE MOST AREAS CONTINUE IN
AT LEAST ABNORMALLY DRY CONDITIONS. ONE BRIGHT NOTE IS THAT DURING
THE 2011-12 WINTER WE DID SEE AVERAGE TO ABOVE AVERAGE RAINFALL
AND WE WERE IN AN ENSO-NEUTRAL PATTERN. THIS CHANGE DOES NOT MEAN WE
WILL SEE BELOW NORMAL RAINFALL...JUST THAT THE TRENDS ARE NO
LONGER SHOWING STRONGER TRENDS TOWARDS ABOVE NORMAL RAINFALL
DURING THE LATE FALL AND INTO THE WINTER.

THE US DROUGHT MONITOR (USDM) VALID NOVEMBER 13TH AND ISSUED ON
NOVEMBER 15TH INDICATED A SLIGHT WORSENING OF THE DROUGHT STATUS
ACROSS THE REGION. THE REGION IS CURRENTLY IN ABNORMALLY DRY (D0)
TO EXTREME (D3) DROUGHT STATUS. MOST LOCATIONS ARE NOW REPORTING
MODERATE DROUGHT (D1) TO SEVERE DROUGHT (D2) STATUS. A PORTION OF
THE NORTHERN RIO GRANDE PLAINS REMAINS IN EXTREME DROUGHT (D3)
STATUS. AS WE SEE ADDITIONAL RAINFALL THEN FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS
ARE LIKELY ACROSS THE REGION.

CURRENTLY 70 PERCENT OF THE STATE IS IN MODERATE DROUGHT (D1) TO
EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT (D4). SIX PERCENT OF THE STATE REMAINS IN
EXCEPTIONAL (D4) DROUGHT STATUS.

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS...

FIRE DANGER IMPACTS...

FIRE DANGER WAS MODERATE ACROSS THE REGION. AS OF NOVEMBER
15TH...BURN BANS WERE IN EFFECT FOR 11 COUNTIES IN SOUTH CENTRAL
TEXAS. THE COUNTIES WITH ESTABLISHED OUTDOOR BURN BANS INCLUDE
DIMMIT...EDWARDS...FRIO...KARNES...KINNEY...MAVERICK...
MEDINA...UVALDE...VAL VERDE...WILSON AND ZAVALA COUNTIES.

CURRENTLY ATASCOSA...BANDERA...BASTROP...BEXAR...BLANCO...
BURNET...CALDWELL...COMAL...DEWITT...FAYETTE...GILLESPIE...
GONZALES...GUADALUPE...HAYS...KENDALL...KERR...LAVACA...
LEE...LLANO...REAL...TRAVIS...WILLIAMSON COUNTIES CURRENTLY HAVE
NO BURN BANS IN PLACE.

RESIDENTS IN ALL COUNTIES SHOULD CONTACT THEIR LOCAL COUNTY
WEB SITE...JUDGE`S OFFICE OR FIRE MARSHALL BEFORE DECIDING TO
CONDUCT ANY TYPE OF OUTDOOR BURNING.

THE NOVEMBER 15TH KEETCH-BYRAM DROUGHT INDEX (KBDI) SHOWED KBDI
VALUES OF 200 TO 400 ACROSS ATASCOSA...BEXAR...AND WILSON COUNTIES.
THE REMAINDER OF THE AREA HAD KBDI VALUES OF 400 TO 700.

THE TEXAS FOREST SERVICE USES THE KBDI AS A MEANS FOR RELATING
CURRENT AND RECENT WEATHER CONDITIONS TO POTENTIAL OR EXPECTED
FIRE BEHAVIOR. THE KBDI IS A NUMERICAL INDEX CALCULATED DAILY
FOR EACH COUNTY. EACH NUMBER IS AN ESTIMATE OF THE AMOUNT OF
PRECIPITATION...IN HUNDREDTHS OF AN INCH...NEEDED TO BRING THE
SOIL BACK TO SATURATION. THE INDEX RANGES FROM ZERO TO 800...WITH
ZERO REPRESENTING A SATURATED SOIL AND 800 A COMPLETELY DRY SOIL.
REMEMBER...THAT FIRE DANGER CAN CHANGE QUICKLY FROM ONE DAY TO
ANOTHER AS WINDS AND RELATIVE HUMIDITY VARY.

AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS...

THE TEXAS CROP AND WEATHER REPORT ISSUED BY TEXAS A AND M
AGRICULTURAL ON NOVEMBER 14TH INDICATED...HIGH WINDS AND WARMER
THAN AVERAGE TEMPERATURES REDUCED SOIL MOISTURE AND DRIED OUT
VEGETATION. MOST PERENNIAL GRASSES WERE DORMANT...AND WINTER
GRASSES AND FORBS WERE MOISTURE STRESSED. IN HAYS COUNTY...HAY
CUTTINGS WERE PRODUCING ABOVE-AVERAGE YIELDS. MOST CORN AND COTTON
WAS HARVESTED.

CLIMATE SUMMARY...

TEMPERATURES HAVE BEEN BELOW NORMAL FOR SEVERAL DAYS WITH A
REBOUND TO NEAR OR SLIGHTLY ABOVE SEASONAL AVERAGES TAKING
PLACE OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS.

PRECIPITATION FROM JANUARY 1, 2012 TO MIDNIGHT NOVEMBER 14, 2012
AND DEPARTURE FROM NORMAL:

                    2012      NORMAL     DEPARTURE     PERCENT
                  RAINFALL    TO DATE    FROM NORMAL   OF NORMAL

AUSTIN MABRY       32.67       30.45       +2.22         107%
AUSTIN BERGSTROM   34.30       28.47       +5.83         120%
SAN ANTONIO        38.79       29.30       +8.36         132%
DEL RIO            13.83       18.43       -4.60          75%

FOR NOVEMBER TO DATE...DEL RIO RECEIVED HAS RECEIVED 0.05 OF AN
INCH OF RAIN. THIS IS 0.44 OF AN INCH BELOW THE NORMAL OF 0.49
OF AN INCH. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE TO DATE FOR NOVEMBER IS 68.2
DEGREES. THIS IS 4.2 DEGREES ABOVE THE NORMAL OF 64.0 DEGREES.

FOR NOVEMBER TO DATE...SAN ANTONIO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HAS
RECEIVED 0.03 OF AN INCH OF RAIN. THIS IS 1.19 INCHES BELOW
THE NORMAL OF 1.22 INCHES. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE AT THE
SAN ANTONIO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO DATE FOR NOVEMBER IS 67.0
DEGREES. THIS IS 2.9 DEGREES ABOVE THE NORMAL OF 64.1 DEGREES.

FOR NOVEMBER TO DATE...AUSTIN MABRY HAS RECEIVED NO RAIN. THIS
IS 1.49 INCHES BELOW THE NORMAL OF 1.49 OF INCHES. THE
AVERAGE TEMPERATURE AT AUSTIN MABRY TO DATE FOR NOVEMBER IS
67.4 DEGREES. THIS IS 3.4 DEGREES ABOVE THE NORMAL OF 64.0
DEGREES.

FOR NOVEMBER TO DATE...AUSTIN BERGSTROM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HAS
RECEIVED NO RAIN. THIS IS 1.52 INCHES BELOW THE NORMAL OF
1.52 INCHES. THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE AT THE AUSTIN BERGSTROM
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO DATE IS 64.6 DEGREES. THIS IS
3.2 DEGREES ABOVE THE NORMAL OF 61.4 DEGREES.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK...

THERE WILL BE A COUPLE OF CHANCES FOR SOME RAINFALL DURING THE
NEXT WEEK TO 10 DAYS. TEMPERATURES WILL BE WARMER THAN AVERAGE
FOR LATE NOVEMBER.

THE LATEST CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER (CPC) 8 TO 14 DAY OUTLOOK
ISSUED NOVEMBER 14TH AND VALID NOVEMBER 22ND THROUGH NOVEMBER
28TH WAS INDICATING STRONGER TRENDS ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES
AND BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION.

THE LONGER RANGE OUTLOOK FOR DECEMBER 2012 THROUGH FEBRUARY
2013...CREATED ON NOVEMBER 15TH WAS INDICATING STRONGER TRENDS
FOR ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND STRONGER SIGNALS FOR NEAR EQUAL
CHANCES FOR NORMAL...ABOVE NORMAL OR BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION.
THESE OUTLOOKS WILL BE UPDATED AGAIN ON DECEMBER 20TH.

HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY AND OUTLOOK...

THE LACK OF SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL DURING THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS
HAS CAUSED LAKE LEVELS TO HOLD NEARLY STEADY OR FALL SLOWLY.
COOLER TEMPERATURES WILL HELP TO HOLD DOWN THE EVAPORATION RATES
DURING THE FALL AND INTO WINTER.

THE MAIN DROUGHT CONCERNS ARE CURRENTLY SHORT AND LONG TERM
HYDROLOGIC IMPACTS.

THE 7 DAY STREAM FLOW AVERAGES WERE MUCH BELOW NORMAL (LESS THAN
10 PERCENT) ACROSS THE LOWER COLORADO...THE UPPER AND LOWER
GUADALUPE AND RIO GRANDE BASINS. THE SAN ANTONIO...SAN MARCOS AND
BLANCO RIVER BASINS WERE REPORTING NORMAL (25 TO 75 PERCENT) 7 DAY
AVERAGE STREAM FLOWS. ALL OTHER BASINS WERE REPORTING BELOW NORMAL
(10 TO 24 PERCENT) FLOWS.

RESERVOIR CONDITIONS AS OF NOVEMBER 15TH...

AREA LAKES...RIVERS AND RESERVOIRS REMAIN BELOW NORMAL POOL
ELEVATIONS.

BELOW IS A LIST OF RESERVOIRS WITH THE LATEST ELEVATIONS AND
NORMAL POOLS.

                NORMAL POOL    LATEST ELEVATION    DIFFERENCE
                    (FT)             (FT)             (FT)
LAKE AMISTAD       1117             1083.3           -33.7
MEDINA LAKE        1064.2            996.4           -67.8
CANYON LAKE         909              900.9            -8.1
LAKE GEORGETOWN     791              775.5           -15.5
LAKE BUCHANAN      1020              993.0           -27.0
LAKE TRAVIS         681              633.0           -48.0

RESTRICTIONS...

THE SAN ANTONIO WATER SYSTEM (SAWS) IS CURRENTLY IN STAGE 2 WATER
RESTRICTIONS. ONCE A RESTRICTION IS IN PLACE...THAT RESTRICTION
WILL BE IN EFFECT FOR 30 DAYS NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE
AQUIFER LEVEL.

THE EDWARDS AQUIFER WAS READING 648.1 FEET AS OF NOVEMBER 15TH.
THIS IS 19.3 FEET BELOW THE HISTORICAL MONTHLY AVERAGE FOR NOVEMBER
WHICH IS 667.4 FEET. THE AQUIFER LEVEL IS 0.7 FEET ABOVE THE
LEVEL OBSERVED ON THIS DATE IN NOVEMBER 2011.

MANY COMMUNITIES ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL TEXAS CONTINUE TO HAVE
WATER RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE TO DUE LACK OF CONSISTENT RAINFALL
AND INCREASED USAGE. STRICTER RESTRICTIONS COULD BE IMPLEMENTED
AT ANY TIME IF THE DRIER THAN NORMAL CONDITIONS PERSIST.

THE BARTON SPRINGS REMAIN IN NO DROUGHT CONDITIONS FOR AQUIFERS
WITHIN THE DISTRICT.

UVALDE IS CURRENTLY IN STAGE 3 WATER RESTRICTIONS. AUSTIN AND SAN
MARCOS ARE CURRENTLY IN STAGE 2 WATER RESTRICTIONS. KERRVILLE IS
CURRENTLY IN STAGE 1 WATER RESTRICTIONS. ALL CITIES CONTINUE TO
WARN RESIDENTS THAT STRICTER RESTRICTIONS COULD RETURN AT ANY
TIME IF DRIER CONDITIONS CONTINUE.

LOCATIONS THAT DO NOT CURRENTLY HAVE MANDATORY RESTRICTIONS
CONTINUE TO STRONGLY PROMOTE YEAR ROUND WATER CONSERVATION.

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