February Watershed News
Topics: Jacob's Well Flow Dipping Close to Zero
Hays County Transportation Plan Public Input Due | Jacob's Well Flow Monitoring
TESPA Press Release: EP Ends Contested Case | Engineering Request for Qualifications
Artesiana podcast #3 - Joe Day | Alex S. Broun Honored by HTGCD | Upcoming Events

Jacob's Well Flow Nears Zero
Flow at Jacob’s Well is dipping close to zero. Just as Cypress Creek's baseflow comes from Jacob's Well, the upper Blanco River flow is reliant on baseflow provided by Trinity Springs, and Pleasant Valley and Park Springs currently measure about 12 cfs (according to the USGS gage at Fischer Store Rd).

In many ways, we are in the middle of a sneaky drought. Small rain events have supplied enough water to support surface vegetation, but they haven’t generated enough runoff to recharge area aquifers. With these dry conditions, rainfall is absorbed by thirsty soils. After prolonged dry conditions, it will take several consecutive rains to wet the soils, allow runoff, and provide the sustained recharge needed to refill the aquifers.

As of Wednesday, January 27, the Edwards Aquifer Authority weather station near Burnett Ranches measured about 0.3 inches during the week and a total of about 2.6 inches of rain over the last 30 days. The USGS gauges show little change in spring flow after the rains.
As flow approaches zero, it is increasingly hard to measure. Gates were removed from a downstream dam to allow repairs, with the lowered water level Jacob's Well flow is visible at the Well itself. The USGS verifies the discharge calculations reported at the gauging sites by taking a manual discharge measurement. Over the past few weeks, USGS staff visited Jacob’s Well several times to ensure that the gauge is reporting the most accurate data possible.

Zero flow is an exceptionally troubling condition; however, watching the flow trends for Middle Trinity springs (presented in the monthly Hydro Reports) and taking action as key thresholds are crossed mean we as a community can slow groundwater decline and extend supplies. Springs are a key indicator of groundwater storage and the status of our groundwater supply. To safeguard groundwater supplies and protect spring flow, the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District declared a 20% Drought Curtailment District-wide in Sept. 2020 and increased curtailments for the Jacob's Well Groundwater Management Zone in Nov. 2020.

Water conservation now will help extend water resources until enough rain events generate meaningful recharge. Take a moment to tune up your well and clean your pump house and fix pesky drips and leaks. Be part of the collective solution to protect our shared water supply.

Hays County Transportation Plan Public Input Due Feb. 7
Your time is now to comment on Hays County’s Transportation Plan update, which has been in development since the summer. Virtual Open House Round 2 and public input survey (due by Feb. 7) are available online.

An initial look at the draft plan shows few surprises, but many concerns worth review. In the Wimberley area, a long-term south extension of Jacob’s Well Road across Wilson Creek to Wayside Drive would likely spur development in a mostly natural area west of FM 2325 and north of the Blanco River. Ranch Road 12 would become over the mid-term a four-lane divided parkway, with two lanes in each direction, northward from Winters Mill toward Dripping Springs and southward from the Junction toward San Marcos. The parkway would have a 200-foot right of way, remaining narrowed through Woodcreek and Wimberley at 100 feet.

Near Driftwood, a much-discussed extension from Rutherford Ranch at FM 967 south to FM 150 W, would bring a new four-lane divided major arterial road along the easternmost path considered in the County’s 2017 FM 150 W Character Plan, also completed by K Friese, which is consultant on the Transportation Plan update.

A number of roadway upgrades are planned for Dripping Springs to address its growing pains. Two new four-lane divided major arterial roads and one two-lane road over the mid-term will provide some relief for congestion along US 290 and RR 12, while a multi-decade upgrade of US 290 by TxDOT continues building outward from Oak Hill.

Along the I-35 Corridor, where much of the county’s population growth has been concentrated, lies the bulk of new roadway construction. Most immediately, a four-lane divided major arterial bypass in Kyle from FM 150 to Old Stagecoach Road will relieve traffic and over the long-term connect with three additional segments to create a western loop connecting at I-35.

Plans in western San Marcos deserve a closer look. A mid-term four-lane divided major arterial would extend across open ranch land as a bypass from RR 12 west of the city to I-35 south and potentially pull development westward. Only after that, in the long-term, would a western loop segment be constructed closer in to San Marcos, connecting the RR 12 and Wonder World Drive junction around to Centerpoint Road.

No trace of the 2010 Wimberley Loop proposal is included, suggesting that the Jacob’s Well Road extension is the primary worry considering its tendency to attract and direct development to that area. Also noted as long-term is a Fulton Ranch Road upgrade “emergency access” project that connects Flite Acres Road in Wimberley, however tenuously, with Hilliard Road extending from San Marcos.

The full Draft Roadway Recommendations list includes more than 160 projects. The Virtual Open House will be open for comments and survey responses through Feb. 7. The finalized plan will be presented to Commissioners Court in early spring.

Jacob's Well Flow Monitoring

The WVWA would like to applaud all the agencies involved in flow monitoring at Jacob's Well. As flow has declined and management decisions leverage these critical measurements, staff have been busy coordinating to ensure that the data are as...

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Blanco Task Force Engineering RFQ

The City of Blanco Council formed the Blanco River Water Reclamation Task Force in September 2020 to help identify engineering solutions that balance wastewater treatment, beneficial reuse, and water quality protection. Protect Our Blanco (POB),...

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EP Ends Contested Case Hearing in Hays County

In a February 4th press release, TESPA explains that Electro Purification (EP) has ended the contested case hearing process. EP's permit application will be returned to the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, who had reduced the ...

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Artesiana 3: Joe Day - Brother for Water

Joe Day—Sacred Springs, Karst Mitigation, and Life in the Sky Forest. In episode 3, we bring you Joe Day, a man who turned early retirement from an intense career dealing with disasters across the region into a pro bono passion...

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Alex S. Broun Honored by HTGCD

The Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District recently honored a local geologic legend, Al Broun. His work interpreting geophysical logs, collaborating on field studies, and contributing and reviewing reports as vastly improved understanding ...

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(click to visit calendar)
Feb 11: Economics of Water webinar (Texas Water Journal)

Texas Resources Water Resource Institute (Texas State-San Marcos) will host a webinar discussing recently published research on the economics of water on Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 10 AM. Todd Vottler will moderate then facilitate a round...

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Feb 11: Hays and Caldwell County Economic Development

The Greater San Marcos Partnership will host a virtual discussion on Economic Development in Hays and Caldwell Counties. On Thursday, Feb 11, from 10:30 to 11:30 am they'll host a FREE virtual event where Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra and...

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Feb 25: Wimberley Valley Trails Initiative Virtual Meeting

The Wimberley Valley Trails Study is a planning effort by Hays County and the City of Wimberley to increase safety, mobility, and connectivity in the Wimberley and Woodcreek areas through a system of trails, sidewalks, and related improvements.

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The Wimberley Valley Watershed Association is a 501c3 non-profit organization. In order to carry out our mission, we rely upon generous donations by people like you who care about protecting and preserving the natural beauty of the Hill Country. Your contributions are tax-deductible. 
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