Jacob’s Well Closes for 2024 Summer Swimming Season, Community Groups Blame Aqua Texas

jacob's well
Image courtesy of Hays County Parks Department.

Hays County Parks Department yesterday suspended the 2024 summer swimming season at Jacob’s Well Natural Area.

Below-average spring flow and water levels are to blame, the department said on social media.

Summer season runs from May 1-Sept. 30 of each year.

County officials will monitor water conditions monthly to determine whether swimming might be possible at a later date.

In August 2023, the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association, a community group, said drought and excessive groundwater pumping that violates Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (HTGCD) rules are contributing to unexpected drawdown of aquifer levels.

“Our community is collectively pumping out more water than is being replenished under the current drought conditions,” the group said in an opinion piece published by MyCanyonLake.com. “The 30-foot drawdown policy and over pumping of permitted allotments in the Trinity Aquifer have caused Jacob’s Well to cease flowing.”

On Tuesday, the Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Association (TESPA) said it filed a formal complaint against the water utility Aqua Texas for “years of reckless practices by Aqua including the fact that the utility is serving its customers with an illegal groundwater supply.”

In a statement, TESPA said these continued violations and dependency on an “unlawful” groundwater supply have “contributed multiple times to Jacob’s Well – a key spring that feeds Cypress Creek and an economic engine for Wimberley — running dry.”

TESPA said Aqua Texas violated its groundwater production limits by 90 million gallons in 2022 and the following year exceeded production limits by another 70 million gallons.

“As a result of Aqua’s disregard for restrictions, Jacob’s Well stopped flowing on multiple days when it otherwise would have been flowing, causing harm that reached beyond the recreational and aesthetic value of the site and into the entire region’s economic vitality.”

Aqua Texas is challenging HTGCD in federal court to prevent its enforcement of groundwater production and drought curtailment rates.

Patrick Wegner, regional communications specialist for Aqua, said the company is committed to delivering quality and reliable service to its 3,000 customers in Hays County and is doing what it can to mitigate water loss.

“Earlier this week, Aqua Texas kicked off a $4 million capital project in Wimberley Valley to mitigate water loss and replace 25,000 feet of main, which will further improve Aqua’s efforts to conserve water and improve service reliability,” he said. “Additionally, Aqua has purchased new property away from Jacob’s Well to further reduce our impact in the future. Activation of those wells has been stymied by the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District.”

About JWNA

Jacob’s Well is an artesian spring that releases thousands of gallons of water per day, according to Hays County Parks. Most of the water comes in from the Trinity Aquifer, which formed an extensive underground cave system. JWNA features second-largest fully submerged cave in Texas.

Jacob’s Well is located at the headwaters of Cypress Creek, which flows through Blue Hole Regional Park and feeds into the Blanco River.

Water temperature stays a constant 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

The 81 acres surrounding Jacob’s Well are designated as a natural area. While natural areas are very similar to parks, there are a few differences.

Natural areas tend to focus more on preservation rather than recreation and typically offer less amenities and have stricter rules.

No dogs, glass, alcohol or drones are permitted in the natural areas.

For more information call 512-214-4593 or click here.


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