Investing in the Aquifer

There are numerous opportunities for individuals and organizations to support the ongoing and prospective work of the Edwards Aquifer Authority, as it carries out its ongoing mission of managing, protecting and enhancing the Edwards Aquifer. Listed below are efforts and initiatives that are available for consideration. Of course, we are more than happy to meet in person to present details on these and other possibilities which might suit your interest and budget. Listed below are a sampling of the efforts for which we are actively seeking funding.

Aquifer Science Research

At the core of the Edwards Aquifer Authority is the science and research we engage in daily.  This work provides us with the basis for understanding and insights that are vitally necessarily in planning the future wellbeing of the Edwards Aquifer.  Here are some of the opportunities in hardware that currently present themselves

Monitoring/research Equipment & Computer Systems

In addition to the weather stations, funding for various monitoring/research equipment purchases would accelerate research in key areas, including land management practices throughout the Aquifer Region.  These key pieces of equipment are meant for field use, and in-house.  They range from Evaporative Transpiration Towers, to stream gauges, and new computer systems to more effectively analyze the millions of points of data we collect daily.

  • Cluster computer – desired to take tremendous amounts of data captured from monitoring stations and perform various analytical correlation studies.
  • Research monitoring wells
  • Evaporative Transpiration Measuring Stations
  • Steam gauges – to measure stream water flows in the protected areas

Weather Stations

  • We currently have 22 stations throughout the region and are attempting to place five more when the funding makes itself available.
  • Moreover, in addition to rainfall, the new weather stations are envisioned to measure and display (via internet) temperature, solar radiation, soil moisture, wind speed.   (current stations collect the same parameters).
  • We have an additional 74 rain gauges, that only collect rainfall.

Conservation

The Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) requires certain groundwater withdrawal permit holders to develop and implement individual groundwater conservation plans. In addition, the EAA promotes water efficiency through the implementation of a regional groundwater conservation plan (GCP) and its water conservation programs.  Through these plans permit holders are required to achieve year-round conservation through the implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs).  Conserving groundwater is important to the effective management and sustainability of the Edwards Aquifer.   Below are some of the programs we could expand with additional funding:

Eradicating Flood Irrigation

One focus of the EAA’s conservation equipment grants has been to help eradicate the process of flood irrigation (a low efficiency practice) in our region.  By utilizing information obtained in grant applications that were received by the EAA but were not funded, it has been determined that there are at least 1,230 existing acres that are irrigated through flood irrigation practices.

Leak Detection

The focus of the EAA’s leak detection grant is to assist smaller utilities in identifying system leaks so that they can be remedied.

Abandoned well – closure and equipment

Through the process of time, the normal course of changing land use, or in some cases the expansion of municipal water distribution systems, many groundwater wells become abandoned or deteriorated without being properly plugged or capped.  This can result in wells serving as direct conduits for pollutants to contaminate the aquifer – creating a potential health risk to the groundwater supply.

To facilitate the proper closure of abandoned or deteriorated wells throughout the EAA’s jurisdiction, starting with the wells posing most significant threat to the aquifer.  The EAA uses a sophisticated threat ranking system to determine which wells are the most significant threats to the aquifer.

Haz-mat materials collection

The EAA provides an opportunity for farmers, ranchers, and landowners to dispose of their old, outdated, or unused agricultural chemicals.  The EAA’s missions is to manage, enhance and protect the Edwards Aquifer system and this type of effort is a crucial part of its mandate.    The intent is to host bi-annual collection events, ultimately and effectively eradicating the region of unused or unwanted hazardous chemicals that could potentially harm the aquifer.

Regulated substance storage tank installation and/or upgrade

The EAA has established a program to provide financial assistance to registered, agricultural facility owner/operators for obtaining secondary containment (protective equipment upgrades) for regulated, aboveground storage tanks (AST).   This program helps protect the aquifer from accidents by adding additional protective equipment to existing tanks or by replacing potentially compromised tanks with modern protective tanks.

Major Capital Campaign Efforts

Education Outreach Center

With the appropriate funding we could establish a facility committed to educating and communicating Aquifer information and insights designed to heighten awareness of, and respect for, the critical role the Edwards Aquifer plays in the lives and livelihood of the 2 million citizens who depend on it.

Field Research Observatory

The Edwards Aquifer Authority has developed a world-class cadre of scientists and technicians who have endeavored to collect and analyze data and trends in water quantity and quality.   With the appropriate funding we could establish a facility and surrounding compound where we could conduct long-term, systematic data collection regarding the potential impacts of land management practices that could conceivably increase the yield of water retention in the Edwards Aquifer.  This would be a unique effort, as it relates to karst aquifers, and would benefit the entire region that relies on the Edwards Aquifer

For more information regarding any of these efforts, don’t hesitate to contact us by clicking HERE.