Submitted to the Wimberley View, August 11, 2014
Owners of private, residential wells should be urged to cooperate with the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (HTGCD) cutbacks. Not by regulation, not by government mandate but because it makes good common sense. Neighbors and neighborhoods must work together to conserve water for their own benefit, for the benefit of their properties, their land and their future. With the full understanding that they must help themselves because during a drought, during a period of insufficient aquifer recharge(rainfall), multiple residential water wells in a subdivision will draw themselves down. There are no major industries, no oil and gas production and no major agricultural irrigation in Western Hays County causing groundwater levels to decline; private, residential water users make up the majority of water used. The HTGCD cannot cause increased rainfall and they cannot control production from residential wells. Local public water supply companies and their customers are already cooperating by cutting back on groundwater usage; rainwater collection systems on private homes and businesses are easing the demand on groundwater; there is no readily available surface water that is not already in demand by others; and there are no desalination projects in the works. Hauling water is valid as long as there are others who have excess water to sell – we borrow from one pocket to pay another. Conservation is the only near term tool available to local residents and to the groundwater district. There appears to be sufficient groundwater available in Western Hays County to satisfy current demand if users can apply some common sense to production and conservation during periods of drought. You can be certain that it will rain and that it will flood; we can only hope that the Trinity Aquifer will recharge to a level that will get us through the next drought. Below is the latest from the HTGCD’s website Drought Management page. The Pedernales River has met the 30 consecutive day trigger for drought stage Emergency while the Blanco River is on day 12 as of August 10th. Once both rivers hit 30 consecutive days, the HTGCD office will announce the start date for drought stage Emergency including a mandatory 40% reduction of operating permit production. Rain will impact these drought triggers if enough is recorded. Groundwater production restrictions are mandated for those who have operating permits with the HTGCD. Exempt well owners (Domestic, Residential and Agricultural use) do not have these production curtailments, but are encouraged to reduce their groundwater use. The drop you save today may be the drop you have to drink tomorrow.