Protect Your Groundwater Day (Sept. 7, 2021) serves as an annual reminder for water well owners to test, tend, and treat their private water systems. The National Groundwater Association (NGWA) encourages annual inspections of private water systems by certified water well contractors to ensure systems are operating correctly and producing safe and healthy water.
It is estimated that about 60-thousand people depend on the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquiver as their sole source of drinking water. The Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD) has some very specific responsibilities when it comes to groundwater protection, especially pertaining to well construction. You can learn more here: https://bseacd.org/education/well-owners/.
As far as land development or how things are built at the surface, that is where the district relies on our various partners in groundwater.
“We have the state level, the Edwards Rules, which determine how you build and construct things and what is limited over the Edwards Aquifer and there are some rules that apply to other aquifers in the state,” said BSEACD Principal Hydrogeologist Brian Smith. “We have the water development board that helps with analyzing samples of groundwater. The City of Austin has rules that protect the aquifers and watersheds. We depend a lot on that to do the initial protection and then we have our well construction standards. We also do a lot of sampling of groundwater in wells and springs.”
According to the NGWA, the United States uses 79.6 billion gallons per day of fresh groundwater for public supply, private supply, irrigation, livestock, manufacturing, mining, thermoelectric power, and other purposes.
Conservation is key when it comes to protecting our groundwater supply.
“Ultimately we need to factor in the conservation of the groundwater. That is one of the best ways to protect groundwater quality,” said Smith. By using less water, we are causing less impact to the aquifer, less infiltration of contaminants, we are avoiding lowering water levels that could cause saline water to move in from the sides of some aquifers. But ultimately we just need to maintain the resource so we have water for those that are depending on it and we have water that are flowing to the springs that support recreational needs and endangered species.”
For more information on groundwater and well resources, please visit the sites below: