Thank you for visiting the District’s newsroom page! Here you will find the latest press releases, videos, newsletters, and all BSEACD news.
Science in 60 Seconds: Water Conductivity
In our latest “Science in 60 Seconds” segment we take a look at water conductivity. Water conductivity is the measure of a water’s ability to pass an electrical current. Because dissolved salts and other inorganic chemicals conduct electrical current, conductivity increases as salinity increases, which is the overall saltiness of a body of water. Science in 60 Seconds: Water Conductivity – VIDEO LINK
- 0 – 5 Microsiemens Per Centimeter (uS/cm) – Very low conductivity because moisture collecting in the atmosphere and falling to earth has very little to no interaction with chemicals that can make water conductive
- Usually between 300 – 700 uS/cm – Relatively low conductivity due to the water – be it collected from ground water or a reservoir – is usually being filtered by a water supplier taking out some of the natural chemical/mineral components found in water
- Usually between 500 – 750 uS/cm – Water coming from the Edwards aquifer travels through porous limestone and in doing so it picks up minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium which raise the conductivity of the water. The large swish cheese permeability of the Edwards limestone allows water to pass through swiftly and not pick up so much mineral content.
- Can be between 800 – 2000 uS/cm – Water coming from the Trinity Aquifer also travels through porous limestone and also picks up similar minerals to the Edwards, But! The difference between the two is their permeabilities. Trinity limestone can have smaller space to travel through therefore the water moves slowly and picks up more mineral content over time.
- Sea water that can have a conductance upwards of 50,000 uS/cm.
Conductivity helps us determine the quality of water. Increases in conductivity might indicate a discharge or some other source of pollution has entered the aquatic resource.
Check out the links below for additional information on water conductivity.
Protect Your Groundwater Day – Sept. 7, 2021
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:
BSEACD Weather Station Now Online
BSEACD’s weather station is online! It contains information on daily and weekly rain amounts, winds, relative humidity, dew point, and soon it include soil moisture and solar radiation measurements. Staff Hydrogeologist Jeff Watson explains who weather station measurements help us learn more about the Edwards and Trinity Aquifers in the video link below.
You can also find the weather station link on the home page of our website at www.bseacd.org.
POSITION: General Manager
COMPENSATION: $110,000 – $130,000 (commensurate with experience)
BENEFITS: Competitive health, dental, and vision insurance, life insurance, retirement plan, and paid leave
POSTING DATE: August 13, 2021
CLOSING DATE: Open until filled
The Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (District) is a Groundwater Conservation District with jurisdictional area including parts of Travis, Hays, and Caldwell counties. The General Manager (GM) of the District functions as the chief operating officer responsible for managing all District operations to serve the District’s mission of conserving, protecting, preserving, and enhancing the aquifers within the District. The GM reports to, and is
directed by, the Board of Directors through the Board President and is responsible for the overall operations and day-to-day activities of the District. The primary areas of responsibility include: programmatic planning and administration; stakeholder relations and regional planning; staff management and development; and financial administration.
The District is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified and interested candidates should submit a complete application package including their resume and a one-page cover letter describing in narrative form how they are best qualified for this position. Resumes and cover letters can be submitted via direct mail or email:
Attn: David Marino
1124 Regal Row
Austin, Texas 78748
***Incomplete applications will not be considered.***
General Manager Vanessa Escobar Leaving District to Take on New Career Opportunity; District Accepting General Manager Applications
Following an 8-year tenure in groundwater policymaking and district leadership, Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BSEACD) General Manager, Vanessa Escobar, announced her resignation from the groundwater conservation district effective September 3, 2021.
Vanessa started with the district as a Regulatory Compliance Coordinator, then stepped into the Team Leader and Assistant General Manager roles, before serving as the General Manager. During her tenure, she implemented the district’s groundwater permitting program, conservation initiatives, drought compliance efforts, and management policies. Ms. Escobar’s contributions to the organization have been invaluable. She helped develop the district’s Rules and Regulations, Management Plan, Annual Reports, and served as a public facing figure for the district. She is a true example of someone who has “risen through the ranks” and is considered a leader in the Groundwater Management world.
“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to have provided contributions and leadership to this district during this unique chapter at the district post annexation. I have learned a lot from the board and staff during my time here and have been fortunate to have worked with a team of staff experts on some very meaningful and challenging groundwater management issues. I wish my colleagues at the district all the best and look forward to continuing to champion the district’s mission as a citizen and constituent,” said Vanessa Escobar.
While Ms. Escobar’s impending departure is bittersweet for the district, we are truly excited for this next step in her career path. The experience she gained at the district will serve her well as she continues to provide leadership in the water resources management profession in her new position.
“Vanessa not only has years of outstanding service to the district and community but has provided strategic leadership through the annexation of the district and during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has continued to provide valuable counsel to the board and our staff during times of transitions and made important contributions during her time here. On behalf of the board, we want to publicly thank Vanessa for her service and dedication to our constituents as well as the board and staff,” said Board President Blayne Stansberry.
With continued growth in Central Texas, the district’s mission for conserving, protecting, recharging, preventing waste of groundwater and preserving all aquifers in the district is more important than ever. The district’s priorities during this next chapter will be focused on completing a sustainable yield study for the Trinity Aquifers, implementing the district’s Habitat Conservation Plan for the Edwards Aquifer, and developing partnerships with community and elected officials to carry out the district’s mission.
“This district has developed a reputation for providing leadership in the groundwater community particularly in the areas of developing sound science, building stakeholder engagement processes, and adopting innovative regulatory policies. With a passionate group of staff experts and a dedicated board of directors, I believe that you will continue to see this district implement meaningful and sustainable groundwater management of our aquifer resources,” said Board President Blayne Stansberry.
The BSEACD Board of Directors has begun their search for a dynamic individual who will lead and manage the district during this next exciting chapter. For more information on the district and on the General Manager position vacancy, please visit our website at www.bseacd.org. Stay tuned to the district’s career opportunities page at https://bseacd.org/careeropportunities/ where we will post the General Manager job description soon.
BSEACD is a groundwater conservation district charged by the Texas Legislature to preserve, conserve, and protect the aquifers and groundwater resources within its jurisdiction, which includes parts of three Central Texas counties. It is governed by a Board of five elected directors and staffed with hydrogeologists, groundwater regulatory compliance specialists, environmental educators, geospatial systems specialists, and administrative support personnel.
Aquifer District Lifts Drought Declaration, Reminds Permittees of Water Conservation Period; District Approves Changes to Rules & Bylaws
For Immediate Release: Thursday, July 8, 2021
For more information, contact: David Marino, Communications & Outreach Manager at (512) 282-8441 or firstname.lastname@example.org
At the July 8 Board Meeting, the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District’s Board of Directors lifted the Stage II Drought Declaration and declared a No-Drought condition for the aquifers within the District, effective immediately. Since the beginning of 2021, the Hill Country – Edwards and Trinity Aquifer region has received a little over 18 inches of rainfall. Consistent small rain events in March and April raised soil-moisture content (amount of water present in the soil), priming the area for runoff conditions. Ten inches received in May and June – usually the two wettest months of the year – produced above-average rainfall, generating plenty of runoff to area creeks and much needed aquifer recharge. Barton Springs discharge has been above the Stage II alarm Drought threshold of 38 cfs (cubic feet per second) since May 1, 2021. The water level in the Lovelady Well crossed above its drought threshold of 478 ft msl (feet above mean sea level) on June 10, 2021. For the District to declare drought conditions, either Lovelady water levels or Barton Springs flow need to be below their respective drought thresholds. However, to exit a drought stage, both Barton Springs and Lovelady must rise above their respective drought trigger values. This latter requirement keeps the District from making multiple declarations about drought over short periods of time.
Although the District is now out of drought, Texas weather is hard to predict. Worst case scenario, without additional rain over the next couple of months, the District could return to Stage 2 Alarm Drought Status within 90 to 100 days. As a reminder, May through September is the District’s Water Conservation Period. Austin Water Utility restricts outdoor watering to no more than twice per week, and the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District initiates a voluntary 10% reduction in groundwater pumping by its permittees. Though the approaches are different, the goal is the same—to prolong water availability throughout the hottest and driest portion of the year. For more specifics on drought conditions please visit the District’s Drought Monitor blog here: http://droughtmonitor.blogspot.com/2021/07/spring-and-summer-2021-aquifer.html.
Additionally, at the July 8 Board Meeting, Directors approved changes to the District’s Rules & Bylaws. This includes changes to enforcement and penalties associated with over-pumping violations in times of drought.
The District encourages continued conservation, with July and August often being the hottest and driest times of the year. In the summer months, outdoor water use is significantly higher and can account for 60% or more of home water use. Planting native or drought-tolerant landscapes, mulching, and using compost can substantially reduce the amount of irrigation water required to keep plants healthy.
Making sure your irrigation system is functioning at peak efficiency and replacing leaking gaskets and hoses can help conserve water. Installing a rain barrel or rainwater harvesting system can make an even bigger impact in reducing overall water use.
- Drought Media Tool-Kit: https://bseacd.org/drought-edu/
- Press Release archive: http://bseacd.org/publications/press-releases/
- Drought Status page: http://bseacd.org/aquifer-science/drought-status/
- Drought Management page: http://bseacd.org/regulatory/drought-management/
To view other BSEACD Press Releases please visit our Press Release Archive.
Check out the District’s latest newsletter. Click on image below.
Role of BSEACD
Special Days of the Year
To watch more videos please visit our YouTube page.
Click the image below for the latest drought status. Here you will find the current stage of drought based on values from Barton Springs and Lovelady monitor well, the District’s two drought trigger sites.
Drought Resources/Media Kit
- View the Thursday, July 8 Aquifer District Lifts Drought Declaration, Reminds Permittees of Water Conservation Period; District Approves Changes to Rules & Bylaws PDF
- View the Drought Monitor Blog
- BSEACD Drought Trigger Methodology: Barton Springs Report (2013), and Middle Trinity Methodology Memo (2018)
- TWDB Texas Drought Monitor
- NOAA La Nina Info
- View the Drought Media Tool-Kit (Water Conservation Period)
Downloadable Flyers & Graphics:
BSEACD Board Meetings
The next Board meeting will be via video conference at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 12, 2021.
For a look at past agendas, please visit our Agendas & Backup page.
For media inquiries or questions, please contact Communications & Outreach Manager David Marino at email@example.com or at 512-282-8441 Ext. 120.