At The Laurels Ranch we received 29.62 inches of rain for the year 2013.
We are very thankful for this close-to-average rainfall year, yet we are needing much more over the longer haul. If you do the math, it can ruin your day. Here’s the hard reality for this area of the Texas Hill Country. We’ve had almost 60 feet of decline (over 2.5 feet in 2013) in our well in the last 14 years (after holding relatively constant for the previous 35+ years). Our well is in the Hensel Sand, one of the Middle Trinity Aquifer formations … which are a group of strata that recharge at the rate of approximately 5 percent per rain event/per year. At about 33 inches per year of annual average rainfall, and using the generous recharge estimate … you can see it’ll take many decades of gaining roughly two inches per year to catch up … if we ever do.
OR, facing the unflinching reality … 180 CONSECUTIVE YEARS* of twice the annual average to get back even … IF WE STOP USING GROUNDWATER FROM OUR WELL TODAY, AND EVERYONE ELSE WITH WELLS IN THE MIDDLE TRINITY DOES ALSO!!!**
Additionally, groundwater resources are not only reflective of water levels in wells, but also of the health of seeps, springs, creeks, and rivers. As of today, many, if not most, of these resources in the Texas Hill Country are in pitiful condition, if not completely dry.
(*The math: Twice the average annual of 33 inches = 66 inches of rain per year. 66 inches x 5% would be about 4 inches of recharge to our aquifer each year. So, 60 feet of current decline = 720 inches. Therefore, to regain 720 inches at 4 inches per year = 180 years!)
(**This is an over-simplification, I know. But even if it’s “merely” 10% accurate, the implications remain dire.)
David K. Langford
Western Photography Company
P.O. Box 1059, Comfort, TX 78013
Cell: 210/827-0306 (Does not work at home, so leave messages on both if no answers.)
New book: www.hillingdonranchbook.com
Video of some of book’s images: http://vimeo.com/77197491