September Rains and the Aquifer

IMG_7550

Since Labor Day the San Antonio area has had almost 17 inches of rain; we’ve set a record for September rainfall and with more rain in the forecast this may be the wettest month ever for us.  Everything is green and blooming profusely! While the rain is an inconvenience no one complains, ever. We take it thankfully when it falls.

An added benefit is that the Edwards Underground Aquifer has risen over 30 feet at the test well and the local springs are flowing again.

Yesterday evening I checked on the Blue Hole (the original headwaters of the San Antonio River) and yes, there’s water flowing from the spring! However, it wasn’t its usual blue color possibly from mud that had collected in the basin prior to the spring’s activity. Still, it is fun to watch this crystal clear water flowing downstream to join the current SA River.

Spanish explorers and priests reported this area as being sprinkled with many springs, some of which rose up many feet into the area before releasing their water to flow downstream.  They described the area as being an oasis and very beautiful with all the vegetation and trees.

IMG_7509

The San Pedro Springs are also flowing very nicely and the water is very clear. I noticed water in one of the lesser springs in the park, too.  The springs in this area attracted the Native Americans before the Spanish explorers came to the area.  Somewhere around the San Pedro Springs the city of San Antonio was established in 1718 – 300 years ago.

IMG_7504
Springs flowing – September 18, 2018

 

100_7357.JPG
Normal appearance of Springs – April 26, 2014

 

 

Before and After

I love before and after pictures; I can spend hours looking at them and analyzing the differences. Today I had my own experience with before and after.  Due to recent rains the underground aquifer that San Antonio relies on for water has risen above the very low levels that have plagued it for many years.  I knew the aquifer was up, but didn’t realize how much until I saw a news item that the Blue Hole had water in it.  Time to grab the camera and head out!

In case you’re wondering the Blue Hole  is where the headwaters of the San Antonio River originally bubbled up from the earth. Drilling of artesian wells in the late 1800’s diminished the spring’s flow until it eventually stopped.  Now it only flows when the aquifer reaches a higher level. The San Antonio River is a human controlled body of water ensuring an even flow of water into the downtown area and, more importantly, as a means of flood control.

Here’s the before:

IMG_4036 (800x533).jpg
2013

And the after:

IMG_1054_edited-1.jpg
2016

The once dry river bed is now a noisy rush of water, too.

IMG_4039 (800x533)
2013
IMG_1056.JPG
2016

I didn’t think I would ever see water in the Blue Hole, but today I did.  Pure, clean water right out of the aquifer.