How Much Water is in the Hill Country?
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The Hill Country is a unique region of Texas where rivers rise out of the limestone, spilling the means for life onto what would be an otherwise dry and difficult place to survive. The conservation of the Hill Country’s hydrologic systems is not only important to protecting the diverse wildlife indigenous to this area but also to the growing population moving into the expanding urban corridor between Austin and San Antonio and west into the Hill Country. The current period of prolonged drought has depleted many reservoir levels to historic lows and created a growing reliance on groundwater to support the escalating population of Central Texas. Since there are few regulations that can be placed on aquifer pumping, there is a very real possibility that unsustainable groundwater development and drought could endanger major springs that are instrumental to the base flow of the major rivers in the Hill Country region. There is still much to learn about the interconnected nature of these aquifers, rivers and lakes.
The purpose of this project was to develop a methodology for hydrogeologic research that will help scientists, decision-makers, and stakeholders better understand how the aquifers, springs, and rivers in the Hill Country interact.