Edwards Aquifer Authority now has a 150-acre laboratory to study the aquifer

Scientists hope to conduct long-term research on the Edwards Aquifer Research Park

The Edwards Aquifer Authority using more than 150-acre plot of land to study the aquifer.

As water becomes one of Texas’ most precious resources, the Edwards Aquifer Authority is focusing on sustaining its namesake.

”If you use water, then you’re relying on some level on the Edwards Aquifer,” explained Mark Hamilton, Executive Director of Aquifer Management Services for the EAA.

It’s why the City of San Antonio opted to allow the EAA to use a property totaling more than 150-acres in northern Bexar County. The land was already part of the city’s Aquifer Protection Program. Situated along Cibolo Creek, the Edwards Aquifer Field Research Park is shifting part of the agency’s focus from below the surface to the rocky grounds above.

”We have 151 acres where we can work diligently to try to unlock more secrets about how the system behaves,” added Hamilton.

Unlocking those secrets may take years. Scientists will study how things like how quickly water funnels into the aquifer and experiment with the construction of land management practices like berms and swales.

”[It] gives us maybe an idea of how effective some of these practices might be in slowing and spreading storm-water runoff,” said Thomas Marsila, Aquifer Protection Manager for the EAA.

Storm runoff and how it’s managed is a major factor when it comes to what exactly feeds into the aquifer, including unwanted pollution.

One of the important things that will be measured at the research park is evapotranspiration. It’s measured atop a tower and it calculates how much moisture is coming up from the ground, trees and plants. It’s an important component in knowing how much water gets into the aquifer. Scientists believe this data will be invaluable, as water demand increases and the climate changes.

“We have to continue to maintain flow at the springs, provide water for people - so we can really understand how climate change may impact things over the next several decades,” explained Paul Bertetti, Director of Aquifer Science and Modeling.

”The higher we can keep aquifer levels, the more it benefits everyone,” said Hamilton. “It benefits our permit holders, it benefits the springs, it benefits spring flow.”

About the Author:

Justin Horne is a meteorologist and reporter for KSAT 12 News. When severe weather rolls through, Justin will hop in the KSAT 12 Storm Chaser to safely bring you the latest weather conditions from across South Texas. On top of delivering an accurate forecast, Justin often reports on one of his favorite topics: Texas history.