Wintergarden groundwater report: Few wells show improvement in aquifer
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SOME MEASUREMENTS INDICATED WATER TABLE RISE SINCE JUNE, BUT OVERALL SIGNIFICANT DROP SINCE SEPTEMBER 2021
Lack of rainfall in a hard drought between 2021 and 2022 combined with ongoing demand from the energy industry over the Eagle Ford Shale have had a detrimental effect on the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, which supplies several counties across South Texas, and a quarterly report on the status of wells in the region demonstrates little improvement at the close of summer.
The Wintergarden Groundwater Conservation District takes measurements four times a year at specific sites in La Salle, Dimmit and Zavala counties, keeping records of prior measurements to allow agri-business, local governments and commercial enterprise to judge the level of the aquifer and trends over an extended period. Those measurements have played a part during 2022 in some city councils enacting Stage I and II water use restrictions to help prevent a further drop in the aquifer that could damage municipal well pumps.
Two wells are measured by the WGCD in La Salle County, and each has demonstrated a drop in the aquifer between June and September. The most recent reading was taken Sunday, Sept. 25.
Situated eight miles west of Cotulla at an elevation of 459 feet above sea level, the Hinojosa Well showed water at 530.71 feet below ground on Sept. 25. The measurement represents a drop of 13.78 feet since June 25, when the well had water at 516.93 feet below ground. A year ago, the Hinojosa Well showed water at 498.88 feet below ground.
The report shows that water levels at the site have dropped by nearly 32 feet in a year.
The Echols Well, situated at 414 feet above sea level and eight miles north-northeast of Los Angeles in northeastern La Salle County, had water at 378.707 feet below ground on Sept. 25 this year. In June, the WGCD measured water at the site at 359.9 feet below ground. The most recent measurement shows that the aquifer level has dropped by nearly 19 feet in three months.
A year ago, the Echols Well had water at 347.395 feet below ground, some 31.3 feet higher that at the most recent measurement.
The WGCD measures three wells in Dimmit County, west of La Salle, and recordings taken at those sites on Sept. 25 indicate some improvement in the aquifer.
The Dixondale Well, positioned at 540 feet above sea level and three miles west of Brundage, showed water at 484.746 feet below ground, representing a rise in the aquifer level by nearly eleven feet since late June, when water was measured at 495.693 feet below ground.
In September 2021, however, the Dixondale Well had water at 430.545 feet below ground, a measurement that demonstrates a drop in the aquifer at the site by over 54 feet in a year.
A smaller rise in the aquifer for the quarter is detected at the Shape Well in Dimmit County, 799 feet above sea level and 18 miles southwest of Carrizo Springs. Water was measured at the site at 187.737 feet below ground on Sept. 25, reflecting a difference of less than a quarter of a foot since June, when water was measured there at 187.761 feet below ground.
A year ago, the WGCD measured water at 186.674 feet at the Shape Well, which demonstrates that the aquifer has dropped by approximately a foot since September 2021.
The Barrier Well, standing at 665 feet above sea level, 6.7 miles southwest of Carrizo Springs, showed water at 308.747 feet below ground on Sept. 25, the only site measured by the WGCD in Dimmit County demonstrating an appreciable drop in the aquifer over the past three months. Water was measured at the well at 308.287 feet below ground on June 25, nearly half a foot higher.
In September 2021, the Barrier Well had water at 307.052 feet below ground. The difference represents a drop by over nearly 1.7 feet over the past year, according to the WGCD report.
Zavala County, west of Frio, has three wells that are measured quarterly by the WGCD. Each of the three showed water at a higher level on Sept. 25 than three months previously, although each has also demonstrated an overall drop over a 12-month period.
At 624 feet above sea level, the Hargrove Well is positioned 12 miles northeast of Crystal City and showed water at 470.268 feet below ground on Sept. 25. Three months previously, the WGCD measured water there at 497.879 feet below ground. The difference represents an apparent rise in the aquifer at that side by more than 27.6 feet since late June, when the reading stood at 497.879 feet.
A year ago, however, the Hargrove Well had water at 414.881 feet below ground. The WGCD report indicates water at that well has dropped by more than 55 feet since last September.
The Cargil Well is located two miles south of La Pryor in Zavala County, 735 feet above sea level, and recorded water at 434.97 feet below ground on Sept. 25. The reading at that site was 460.03 feet below ground on June 25, which indicates the water level has risen there by more than 25 feet in three months.
The Cargil Well had water at 420.62 feet below ground a year ago, which indicates the aquifer has dropped by over 14.3 feet since September 2021.
Eight miles west of Batesville, 785 feet above sea level, the Rutledge Well in Zavala County showed water at 43.435 feet below ground on Sept. 25. The reading indicates a three-month rise in the aquifer by a little more than four feet since June, when the water level was measured at 47.575 feet below ground.
The most recent reading at Rutledge, however, likewise indicates a 12-month overall drop of 3.21 feet in the water table, as the well recorded 40.225 feet below ground in September 2021.
The next readings taken by the well monitoring program of the WGCD are scheduled for the end of December.
The groundwater district reported last week that it is expanding its well monitoring program in La Salle, Dimmit and Zavala counties and is looking to make contact with additional well owners over the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer. Well owners should have access to electricity and wi-fi services at their sites.
Those interested in participating in the program or seeking additional records from the WGCD should contact the district office at (830) 876-3801.