Watering limits loom as aquifer drops amid heat
So far, the San Antonio area has escaped outdoor watering restrictions this summer, but that could change next month.
In the past several weeks, the Edwards Aquifer has dropped sharply and is approaching the level that triggers the first stage of cutbacks.
July and August have been extraordinarily hot and dry, like a “flash drought,” said Karen Guz, the San Antonio Water System’s conservation director. There’s been less than a half-inch of rain here since June 30. For the year, rainfall is almost 6 inches below average.
Guz and Paul Bertetti, the Edwards Aquifer Authority’s director of aquifer science, said plentiful rain earlier in the year helped stave off water restrictions, and the current aquifer level is still higher than normal.
The record-breaking 16.86 inches of rain that fell on San Antonio in September gave the aquifer a boost — then July and August undid it.
“Yes, there’s a significant drop,” Bertetti said. “The drop is fairly typical for times when it’s summer and there’s been no rainfall.”
The EAA will institute Stage 1 pumping restrictions when the 10-day rolling average of the J-17 well, which monitors the Edwards below San Antonio, falls below 660 feet. On Monday afternoon, it was hovering slightly over 666 feet. It has been dropping by about 3.5 inches a day recently.
Read more from Josh Baugh with San Antonio Express-News here.