Drought Management


The Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District is in:

30% Curtailment (“Critical Stage”) of groundwater pumping District-wide and,

30% Curtailment (“Emergency Stage”) of groundwater pumping within the Jacob’s Well Groundwater Management Zone.

In order to help ensure the health of the aquifer and its residents, please protect your aquifer by limiting water use.

An urgent message to groundwater users in the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District,

Extreme heat and drought conditions have gripped the western United States in an unprecedented combination. Western Hays County and the Hill Country have not received adequate rain to keep our rivers and streams flowing or to recharge our aquifers. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) stream gauges in the Pedernales and Blanco Rivers are recording sustained record low flows. The USGS reports similar low-flow conditions in the South Llano, the Frio, the Sabinal, and the Medina Rivers. The Colorado and Guadalupe Rivers are declining as well.  The District’s Monitor Well System shows declining water levels. The District and local well drillers are responding to a significant increase of dry-wells and burnt-out well pumps. Water haulers are trucking at full capacity.

HTGCD was featured in a video made by the Texas Water Newsroom, produced by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), highlighting the importance of groundwater monitoring and sampling efforts. Follow this link to watch the video.

Aquifer and River conditions have not been this poor in the 20+ year history of the District — including the 2011 Drought. Unless conditions improve, the District will remain in DROUGHT STAGE requiring a reduction in use. Non-Exempt well operators will be required to substantially curtail water use. If you are served by a utility or public water supply, it will be alerting you of its own specific curtailment requirements. Please reduce water use by all means possible.  Make sure that dishwashers and washing machines are full before running them. Repair all known leaks. Please eliminate all outdoor water use including car washing, lawn watering, sidewalk and driveway washing. Please turn off all outdoor water features, including fountains. Please turn off swimming pool and pond pumps.

The sooner and more serious we are about conserving our drinking water, the longer the supply will last. Most of us do not have an alternative water supply, so please practice maximum efficiency and thrift until the rains return.

The Drought Contingency Plan containing Rules 13 and 15 is available here.

The HTGCD uses Pedernales and Blanco River streamflows as District-wide drought indicators because these rivers are recharge features of our aquifers. Aquifer recharge occurs relatively slowly, and streamflow indicates the current and future health of the Trinity Aquifer in the District — and therefore determines what stage of drought we must observe.

Data shows healthy conditions in the Perdernales River when flows are above 59 cubic feet per second (cfs), and 41 cfs in the Blanco River. The District recommends conservative use of water when streamflow is healthy.

When streamflow drops below a drought trigger — shown in the table below as “Conservation”, “Alarm,” “Critical,” and “Emergency” — a daily counter begins. If the counter for either drought indicators reaches 30 days, the District Board will declare the appropriate drought stage.

To move out of a drought stage, both drought indicators must flow 60 consecutive days above the current drought trigger in order to give aquifers time to recharge. The declaration of the District coming out of drought stage will go into effect on the next Board Meeting.

So, though parts of Hays County may be out of atmospheric drought and have full ponds and lush landscape, the aquifer that feeds your well requires a longer time to catch up with the surface conditions.

Discharge Flow Rate 30 Day Mean 60 Day Mean Alarm Trigger Critical Trigger Emergency Trigger
Region K
Pedernales Rv nr Johnson City, TX (08153500) as of 2024-02-28 14.54 11.91  31.6  10.2 2.23
Days with flow Above Stage Trigger 0 0 60+
Days with flow Below Stage Trigger 15 1 0  
Region L
Blanco Rv at Wimberley, TX (08171000) as of 2024-02-28 24.64 20.84  28.5  14.5 9.28
Days with flow Above Stage Trigger 0 38 38
Days with flow Below Stage Trigger 16 0 0

Streamflow is measured by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) gages at the Blanco River in Wimberley and the Pedernales River in Johnson City. These gage readings are represented by the graphs above. More information about the Blanco and Pedernales River can be found by clicking the USGS symbol to the left of the name in the table above.

Drought Stage
Stage Start Date: March 2024

Jacob’s Well Groundwater Management Zone Drought Management

In order to protect groundwater supplies and Jacob’s Well spring flow in the 39 square mile Jacobs’s Well Groundwater Management Zone, District Rule 15 designates cutback triggers based on Jacob’s Well spring flow. When flows from Jacob’s Well averages 6 cfs or less during any 10-day period, The District Board declares appropriate drought stage.

See Jacobs Well Spring and Drought Video HERE.

Discharge Flow Rate 30 Day Mean 10 Day Mean Alarm Trigger Critical Trigger Emergency Trigger
Jacob's Well Groundwater Management Zone
Jacobs Well Spg nr Wimberley, TX (08170990) as of 2024-02-28 3.34 2.44 6 5 3
Days with flow Below Stage Trigger 25 24 6
Drought Stage
Jacob's Well Management Zone
Stage Start Date: March 2024

National and state drought information links

National Drought Mitigation Center
NOAA Weekly Drought Severity Index – National
TWDB Main Drought Page
TWDB Water Resource Planning information for Texas.
Texas Drought Monitor Map
Palmer Drought and Crop Moisture – Table