What is an Aquifer Test?
An aquifer test is a controlled field experiment made to determine the hydraulic properties of water-bearing and associated rocks. At the BSEACD, we focus these tests on the Edwards and Trinity aquifers.
One type of Aquifer Test is a pumping test, which involves pumping water from a well over a set period of time and at a known rate. Researchers then observe groundwater flow that is produced as a result. Groundwater flow varies in space and time and is dependent on the hydraulic properties of the rocks and faults in the groundwater system.
Why are Aquifer Pumping Tests Important?
The goal of an Aquifer Pumping Test is to estimate hydraulic properties of an aquifer system like how fast is water moving through the aquifer, the ability of water to pass through an aquifer’s pore space and an aquifer’s ability to store water. The hydrogeologic studies that accompany them provide essential baseline information for water-resource management for both the BSEACD and the permittee well owner.
- Local geology, aquifer conditions and water quality
- Construction and location of the new well
- Target production zone (specific aquifer) of the well
- Water level drawdown attributed to pumping from the new well over time and distance
- Water level drawdown attributed to pumping from existing existing and future area wells
- Water level drawdown attributed to drought conditions
The BSEACD Aquifer Science Team evaluates this essential information to determine whether there is potential for unreasonable impacts like:
- Well interference – Could a new well interfere with a neighboring well or vice versa?
- Impacts to regional water resources – undesired short or long-term impacts to resources including springs and creeks.
- Changes in water quality – document any changes due to pumping
Who needs an Aquifer Pumping Test?
Well owners who are seeking to export groundwater outside of District boundaries or permit a new well with an annual pumpage volume of more than 2 million gallons are required to conduct an aquifer pumping test and submit a Hydrological Report.
BSEACD requires these analyses to better understand our aquifer resources from a scientific point of view, but to also protect current and future well owners, recreational water users (swimmers at Barton Springs and Jacobs Well) and regional species and habitats that rely on aquifer resources.
For more information on District guidelines on Aquifer Testing visit: https://bseacd.org/uploads/HydroRepGuidelines_Final_2016.pdf