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David Baker, founder and director of the Wimberley Watershed Association, said he's never seen the water level so low in Jacob's Well. Photographed on Thursday, August 10, 2023.

Heat, drought and population growth have stressed aquifers that supply water to millions of Texans

Diminishing springs and aquifers due to heat, drought and high for demand water highlight the urgency for Central Texas conservation districts to prioritize climate-focused management, potentially involving reduced pumping for sustainability.

by Dylan Baddour, Inside Climate News

Dry springs of Central Texas 

No water currently flows from the primary spring at Comal Springs in New Braunfels, Texas, usually the largest complex of springs in the Southwestern US. Photographed on Thursday, August 10, 2023.
Robert Mace, executive director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, points out features in San Marcos Springs Thursday, August 10, 2023 in San Marcos.

“Invested in this carpet grass”

The town of Wimberley has banned all outdoor water use due to current drought conditions while the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District has ordered a 40% reduction in water use, but not all permitted pumpers are complying. Photographed on Thursday, August 10, 2023.
A sign for new housing outside Wimberley in drought-stressed Hays County, the 4th fastest-growing county in the nation last year. Photographed on Thursday, August 10, 2023.

Water conservation strategies

Cathy Ramsey, Western Hays County project coordinator for the Save Our Springs Alliance, stands by her 20,000 gallon rainwater cistern at her home Friday, August 11, 2023 in Dripping Springs.
David Baker, founder and director of the Wimberley Watershed Association, said he's never seen the water level so low in Jacob's Well. Photographed on Thursday, August 10, 2023.

The case of Aqua Texas

Aqua Texas, an investor-owned water utility, pumped almost twice as much groundwater as its permit allowed in 2022, according to officials with the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District. Photographed on Thursday, August 10, 2023 outside Wimberley.

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