EAA ups water restrictions to Stage 2
With more than a week to go before the calendar signals summer, the region’s water supplies are uncharacteristically low.
Only three weeks after invoking Stage 1 water rules for those who pump from the Edwards Aquifer, the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) has declared stiffer Stage 2 pumping restrictions.
The measure became effective on Sunday, when it was confirmed that the 10-day average at the J-17 index well at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio dropped below the threshold of 650 feet above mean sea level (msl). The EAA declares Stage 2 based on the continued decline of water levels and diminished springflow. On Monday, the 10-day average was 648.9 msl.
Stage 2 of the EAA drought plan requires Edwards groundwater permit holders in Atascosa, Bexar, Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe, Hays and Medina counties to reduce their annual authorized pumping amount by 30 percent. The purpose of mandatory pumping reductions is to stabilize water levels and springflow until rainfall replenishes the aquifer.
Stage 2 reductions apply to all Edwards Aquifer groundwater permit holders authorized to pump more than three acre-feet annually. All affected permit holders must also report their pumping totals to the EAA on a monthly basis.
Residents and businesses who receive their water from a public water system are encouraged to contact their water provider directly to find out how Stage 2 reductions could affect them. More information on Stage 2 requirements is available by calling the EAA Critical Period Team at 866 931-3239 or by visiting the EAA website at www.edwardsaquifer.org.
The Edwards Aquifer Authority manages, enhances and protects the Edwards Aquifer, a major groundwater system serving approximately 2 million South Central Texans.
The city of San Marcos, which is governed by the same “triggers” as the EAA, is expected to follow suit soon and increase to its Stage 2 rules, which further restrict water use for people who live in the city limits and use municipal water.