|Central Texas’ groundwater, karst landscape, and innovative residents are fascinating! Local researchers, agencies, and organizations (the Aquifer District included) have made a lot of the science accessible through videos, activities & experiments, and resource pages.|
The District has several free water-related learning activity kits that can be loaned out to local schools or groups.
Click the image above to submit your Activity Kit Request by Oct. 1 or email Jackie at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
|Incredible Journey: Central Texas Edition
Interact with a mock water cycle as you move around the environment, collecting multi-colored beads at stations along the way to create your own water journey bracelet. Great for introductions for K-2 on water cycle basics as well as expandable for further discussions.
|Protect the Recharge Activity
Since the recharge zone is where water enters the groundwater system, it is particularly sensitive to pollutants. Groups have to work together to remove ‘pollutants’ from a recharge zone without contaminating the aquifer. Accommodates groups of 5-7 with materials for 3-4 groups. Can be a great conversation starter when talking about common groundwater contaminants and the sensitivity of the recharge zone.
|Water Toss Conservation Activity
Aim bean bags at various targets to practice water conservation habits. Each of the targets represents a different water conserving strategy. Tally the number of gallons saved to determine if you are a Water Conservation Ranger, Ninja, or Jedi. This game comes with dishwasher-safe stickers and bragging rights.
- Well Construction: A properly constructed well can provide clean, safe water for years. Well construction standards help protect water quality and extend the service life of the well. A poorly constructed well can have poor water quality and/or limited access to groundwater over time.
- What Is Dye Tracing and How Is It Used in Groundwater Research?: Groundwater dye traces use non-toxic dye to determine flow paths in aquifers. In the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer, dye traces have shown that water can travel as fast as 17 miles in 3 days.
- Recharge: Karst recharge features like caves, swallets, and faults in creek beds replenish aquifers by allowing surface water into the groundwater system. Features vary in size and volume of water they can channel into the groundwater system.
- Antioch Cave and Recharge Enhancement: Antioch Cave is a large karst feature in Onion Creek that supplies a substantial amount of recharge to the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer. In order to protect and enhance recharge to the aquifer, the District constructed a Recharge Enhancement Vault over Antioch Cave.
- Springs: Springs and artesian wells are indicators of the overall health of an aquifer. Healthy springs indicate healthy aquifers. Artesian flowing wells and increased springflow indicate high groundwater levels. Springs help sustain the flow in area creeks and rivers.
- Blanco River Springs: Springs provide important base flow for the Blanco River. Hill Country Trinity Aquifer springs flow even when it’s not raining. As the Blanco flows downstream, it eventually passes over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone and helps replenish the Edwards Aquifer.
General Groundwater-Related Videos
- Austin Underground: A variety of local experts talk about Edwards Aquifer geology, hydrogeology, biology, and threats/solutions. (4 video segments, City of Austin Watershed Protection Department)
- Inner Space Cavern: Inside an Aquifer: A video series that covers everything from the basics, to chemical processes that drive cave formation, to the advanced research done in the cave. (16 video segments, UT Environmental Science Institute)
- Deep Underground with Balcones Canyonlands Preserve Biologist: A look at monitoring efforts for Balcones Canyonlands Preserve cave and the role of caves play as indicators of aquifer health. (1 video, Austin Wildlands BCP and WQPL)
- Recharge in Action: Watch as staff clear debris from a karst feature in Onion Creek. Air bubbles out as water makes its way into the feature. (1 video, Austin Wildlands BCP and WQPL)
- Aquifers and Streams: Texas Aquatic Science- Chapter 7: Many of the cave, springs, and streams in this video are related to the Edwards Aquifer. Beautiful footage and good discussion about recharge, endangered species, and unique underground habitats. (Part of the Texas Aquatic Science educational resource guide by Texas Parks and Wildlife, more info)
- Upper Onion Creek Dye Tracing: An explanation of dye tracing methods and footage from a recent dye trace. (1 video, Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District)
- Monitor Wells: Discussion of the need for informed management and the role of monitor wells. (1 video, Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District)
- Exploring the Trinity Aquifer: An overview of the Upper, Middle, and Lower Trinity Aquifers, cave formation in the Trinity, and area springs. (1 video, Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District)
- Aquifers in Texas: An overview of the Texas aquifers, role of groundwater in the Texas economy, and groundwater conservation districts. (1 video of many, Texas Water Development Board, more info)
- How do Aquifers Work?: A discussion of porosity and permeability of the major Texas aquifers (including Edwards and Trinity), and explains common terms like outcrop/subcrop and confined/unconfined aquifers. (1 video of many, Texas Water Development Board, more info)
- Groundwater Budget and Availability Models: Discussion of the water cycle and the water budget as it relates to inflows and withdrawls. (1 video of many, Texas Water Development Board, more info)
- Using Groundwater Availability Models in Water Planning: Overview of rule of capture, genesis of groundwater conservation districts, stakeholder involvement, planning tools (such as desired future conditions and modeled available groundwater assumptions) for groundwater in Texas. (1 video of many, Texas Water Development Board, more info)
- How A Water Well is Drilled: A view of key elements of well construction, considerations that help protect water quality, pump and pressure tank operation, and home owner guidance. (1 video, American Ground Water Trust)
- Measuring Groundwater with an Electric Tape: An overview of how water level measurements are taken. (1 video, US Geological Survey).
- Streamgages: The Silent Superheros: National experts discuss how streamflow gages provide real-time data, how the data is used, and the challenges associated with maintaining the streamflow network. (1 video, US Geological Survey).
- Effects of Urbanization on Stream Ecosystems: Discussion of stream ecosystems, their role in water quality protection, and threats. (1 video, US Geological Survey).
- Introduction to Rainwater Harvesting: An overview of residential rainwater harvesting system components. (1 video, Cow Creek GCD)
- Creating a Rainwater Harvest System: Tips and tricks to installing home rainwater harvesting systems. (1 video, Cow Creek GCD)
- Residential Rainwater Harvesting: A tour of a residential rainwater harvesting system with John Kight, one of the top rainwater harvesting experts in the United States. (1 video, Cow Creek GCD)
Teacher Kickstarter Supplies: Oct. 1st Wish List Request Deadline
In October of 2018 the District, in an effort to enhance area water conservation and water quality teaching initiatives, provided teachers the opportunity to win FREE materials to strengthen their programs. Preference was given to schools or groups within the District, and about ten educators were selected from differing schools and educational programs. The ten winners were given these free educational materials so long as they share what impact they had on their students or programs. The materials below consisted of easy-to-use tools that help to track water use and investigate water quality both in and out of the classroom.
Measures specific conductance and estimates total dissolved solids in water
|pH Meter and Calibration Kit:
Measures pH of liquids, with calibration kit
|Save A Drop Hose-End Water Meter:
Tracks number of gallons used per session
Many of these agencies collaborate on the annual Groundwater to the Gulf: A Summer Institute for Educators. Please join us for 3 days of field trips and hands-on science activities!
|Adam Comer||Austin Youth River Watch||Water quality monitoring, stream restoration, Colorado Riveremail@example.com|
|Alecia Hudson||Keep Austin Beautiful||Litter abatement, water quality, watershed models, gardening, stream restoration, clean-up firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Amanda Ross||City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department||Outdoor learning, nature-based programs, Texas natives, land management for recharge||Amanda.Ross@austintexas.gov|
|Cait McCann||City of Austin Wildlands||Prescribed fire, Texas natives, water quality protection, land management for recharge, caving, urban/wildland email@example.com|
|Adam Comer||Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept-Aquatic Education||Fishing, angler education, riparian habitats, native and invasive fish, instream firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Carolyn Meredith||City of Sunset Valley||Urban forests, green classrooms, trail maintenance, urban/wildland email@example.com|
|Cinde Thomas-Jimenez||Guadalupe Blanco River Authority||Guadalupe River, Blanco River, water quality, service learning projects, floods, drought firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Katie Bedrich||Colorado River Alliance||Colorado River, Spanish, water availability, outdoor email@example.com|
|Geoff Hensgen||Colorado River Alliance||Colorado River, marine biology, Highland Lakes firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Holly Grand||Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept- Coastal||Coastal habitats, estuaries, marine life, instream flows||Holly.Grand@tpwd.texas.gov|
|Jessica Gordon||City of Austin-Watershed Protection Dept, Earth School||Caving, watersheds, point and non-point source pollution, Edwards Aquiferemail@example.com|
|Melissa Alderson||Texas Parks & Wildlife – Aquatic Education||Texas Aquatic Science, Aquatic WILD, and Texas Waters: Exploring Water and Watersheds||Melissa.Alderson@tpwd.texas.gov|
|Julie Graham||Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center||Texas natives, land management for recharge, Nature Nightsfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Linda Ruiz McCall||Bureau of Economic Geology||Texas geology, Balcones fault zone, geologic email@example.com|
|Lisa Benton||Lower Colorado River Authority||Water quality, aquatic ecology, freshwater mussels, zebra mussels, native/invasive aquatic vegetation, dams and power firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Margaret Russell||City of Austin, Parks and Recreation Dept.||Children in nature, outdoor classrooms, canoeing, Texas natives, invasives,||Margaret.email@example.com|
|Michael Adair||City of Austin, Parks and Recreation Dept.-Sheffield Education Center||Barton Springs, endangered species, salamanders, drought, flood||Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Paul Vickery||Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center||Trinity aquifer, outdoor classrooms, native flora and fauna, guided hikes and programs||Paul@westcave.org|
|Peggy Murphy||Texas Master Naturalists||Texas natives,birding, water availability, nature-based email@example.com|
|Robin Gary||Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District||Edwards and Trinity Aquifers, groundwater management, GIS, groundwater water quality, wells, firstname.lastname@example.org|
|–vacant–||Texas Water Development Board||Major Rivers, Texas water plan, water conservation|
|Sara Heilman||City of Austin-Watershed Protection Dept, Earth Camp||Barton Springs, salamanders, caving, email@example.com|
|Susan Wall||City of Austin-Watershed Protection Dept, Earth Camp||Caving, recharge, macroinvertebrate sampling, Barton Springs, green firstname.lastname@example.org|