Understanding Hill Country Groundwater Resources
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The Hill Country of Central Texas is a rugged, rural landscape with near-pristine watersheds, springs, specialized flora and fauna, and an expanding population with growing water demands. Here, three major aquifers – Trinity, Edwards and Carrizo-Wilcox – supply nearly all of the water to metropolitan and rural populations. The aforementioned increasing water demands and the current prolonged drought place stress on natural ecosystems, and often reduce or completely cease flows in historically ephemeral creeks and streams.
The Understanding Hill Country Water Resources research effort began in 2011 to improve our understanding of groundwater issues and, thus, support a sound basis for civic and stakeholder actions through: 1) an economic study of land valuations around a unique Hill Country creek; 2) a synthesis of groundwater data and related information into a website for public use; and 3) an increase public and stakeholder awareness of groundwater concerns.
This report presents the results of economic valuations of additional monetary contributions of 1) Cypress Creek to riparian properties in Wimberley, TX, 2) residents’ willingness to pay to maintain the creek and 3) preliminary contributions of tourism related to the area’s water resources. The report also addresses further evaluations that would increase our understanding of Cypress Creek’s economic contribution and value to the local economy. The second and third items are addressed in a sister report, entitled “Groundwater Resources, Website and Public Outreach, Final Report.” Groundwater data, records, information and other materials pertinent to groundwater resources and issues in the Hill Country are summarized in this sister report, located at http://www.txhillcountrywater.org/. This website on “Hill Country Water Resources” was developed as public education and outreach resource.