Blanco River–Trinity Aquifer-Barton Springs Connection

Nico Hauwert, CoA’s Watershed Protection Department senior hydrologist and teacher of Geology for the current CAMN trainees, provided us some links concerning the connections between the Hays County instance of the Trinity Aquifer, the Blanco River, and their roles in keeping area springs – including Barton – flowing during times of drought.

Nico Hauwert demonstrating basic aquifer concepts. Photo by Marc Opperman
Nico Hauwert demonstrating basic aquifer concepts. Photo by Marc Opperman

Previous thinking linked Barton solely to the Edwards, but dye-trace evidence disproves this and highlights important characteristics of critical interchange between the watersheds and aquifers in our area. Indeed, Barton and other critical area springs – habitat to various federally-protected Eurycia species – receive critical recharge during draught periods from the Blanco, which itself is fed by the Trinity Aquifer. Kevin Connally’s 2014 CAMN presentation on the anniversary of the Endangered Species Act and its impact highlighted Barton Springs Pool – a centerpiece in Austin’s identity and way of life – is allowed to operate per a complicated balance of federal permitting and careful regional land management practices to ensure the survival of the Barton Springs salamander.

These are articles Nico wrote.

As you may know, a Hays County public hearing was standing-room-only last night with people concerned about the affects of new private corporate pumping in unregulated portions of theCow Creek Unit of the Trinity Aquifer. They are slated to pump 1.8 billion gallons per annum.


“As pumpage from the Trinity Aquifer increases, springs in the Blanco River watershed are expected to diminish in direct correlation to the amount of pumpage,” writes Nico.