Meadows Center releases report for management, preservation of Jacob's Well
The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, in collaboration with the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, has released a report evaluating a potential groundwater management zone to preserve flows to Jacob’s Well in the Wimberley Valley region.
Jacob’s Well, a karst spring originating in the Middle Trinity Aquifer, is the primary source of base flow to Cypress Creek, which flows through the towns of Woodcreek and Wimberley and into the Blanco River. Cypress Creek and Jacob's Well provide important ecological, hydrological and economic benefits to Wimberley, Woodcreek and the surrounding areas.
"Jacob's Well has stopped flowing several times over the last decade, which has created a sense of urgency for developing a special management zone," Meadows Center Fellow Douglas Wierman said. "Given the unique geology in the area, compounded by the rapid development within the watershed as well as the current and projected amounts of pumping in the future, it was very clear that some protections were needed to preserve flow to Jacob's Well and Cypress Creek."
The report was completed by a scientific technical committee of groundwater scientists and a stakeholder advisory committee formed by the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, the agency charged with managing and protecting groundwater in Western Hays County.
The Meadows Center's Interim Executive Director, Robert Mace, and Director of Watershed Services, Nick Dornak, served on the stakeholder advisory committee; Wierman served on the scientific committee.
"This is a nice example of science assisting stakeholders in developing policy recommendations for the groundwater district," Mace said.
Using a scientifically based approach, the report identified three areas with a strong hydrogeologic connection that influences flow to Jacob's Well. Ultimately the study recommends two potential groundwater management zones, a Jacob's Well Groundwater Management Zone and a Regional Recharge Area Groundwater Management Zone.
The presented Jacob's Well Groundwater Management Zone would be a special management zone located in the upper Cypress Creek Watershed, covering approximately 34 square miles. The presented Regional Recharge Area Groundwater Management Zone would be located on the south and west border of the Jacob's Well Groundwater Management Zone, covering approximately 56 square miles.
The report also provides recommendations of potential management strategies for the groundwater management zones that would ensure Jacob's Well continues to flow, even during drought or heavy usage conditions.
"While the scientific committee was mainly focused on the science, it was really a meeting of the science and stakeholder input to get the final recommendations outlined in the report," Wierman said.
The report's findings and recommendations will be presented at the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District’s board meeting on August 28 in Dripping Springs. To view the report online, visit http://bit.ly/JWGWMZReport.