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San Antonio

Record Rains Restore Flow Of San Antonio's Blue Hole

Blue Hole spring
Brian Kirkpatrick
Texas Public Radio
Spring water from the Blue Hole can be seen at the bottom of the photograph.

Record-setting rainfall has an ancient spring on grounds near the University of the Incarnate Word flowing again, according to its caretakers.

Credit Brian Kirkpatrick / Texas Public Radio
A marker at the approach to the Blue Hole spring cared for by the Headwaters at Incarnate Word non-profit organization.

The Blue Hole is located on land belonging to the Sisters of the Charity of the Incarnate Word and is cared for by the non-profit organization Headwaters at Incarnate Word.

Pamela Ball, its associate director, said she is thrilled to see the spring flowing again after being dry for more than a year.

“The Edwards Aquifer rose to the level of 672 or higher — it changes daily — and as a result of our Blue Hole, the source spring of the San Antonio River, is flowing again,” she said.

According to the history of the Blue Hole kept by the Headwaters at Incarnate Word, Native Americans believed the springs were spirit waters and gave birth to all creation.

The spring’s Caribbean blue coloring gives it a magical appeal for visitors and Ball says the blue color comes from a natural source.

“That is the minerals coming from the water and the surrounding rock formations and if we have a nice flow over a period of time it will become a deep, deep Caribbean blue and it will continue to look blue in the outflow down the creek,” she said.

The Blue Hole was quite a gusher before modern-day San Antonio grew up all around it, she added.

Blue Hole spring
Credit Brian Kirkpatrick / Texas Public Radio
The waters of the Blue Hole below a stone wall enclosure.

“We didn’t have the climate change experiences taking place, the water table was higher, the Edwards Aquifer water table was higher, and we would have seen the Blue Hole shooting water up to 20 feet in the air continuously, known as a fountain spring,” Ball said.

The Blue Hole, along with the Comal Springs, San Marcos Springs, and Barton Springs in Austin, are all fed by the Edwards Aquifer, according to the organization.

Ball said the Blue Hole is open to the public, including school groups, but parking is limited. For more information, call 210-828-2224 or visit headwaters-iw.org.

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at tpr.org

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story included the incorrect name of the university. It is the University of the Incarnate Word.