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The Source: Stage 5 Drought Restrictions Around The Corner, EAA Pays Farmers Not To Pump

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Paul Flahive
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The Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) is looking hard at the J-17 well that determines San Antonio's drought level. As it stood today the aquifer level was at 625.24 ft. The 625 ft has special importance. When the well has been there for a 10-day average the San Antonio Pool of the Edwards Aquifer goes into stage 5 pumping restrictions, which is a 44 percent reduction in pumping.

This doesn't have an immediate affect on San Antonio Water System clients, which remains in stage 3 due to additional water supplies outside of the Edwards,  but should be concerning for San Antonio residents.

Uvalde to the southwest sits in a different Edwards pool and has been in stage 5 for over a year. The county's farmers have been feeling the squeeze from the EAA and its reduction for permit holders, but now the EAA is rolling out a program to help out. The Voluntary Irrigation Suspension Program Option (VISPO) pays agricultural permit holders not to pump during certain times. They are offering the program to Uvalde farmers with the hope to keep 40,000 acre feet of water in the ground. 

Guests:

  • J Allen Carnes, former mayor of Uvalde and a farmer who says he will participate in the program.
  • Roland Ruiz, general manager of the Edwards Aquifer Authority
Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive