Edwards Aquifer drops to levels not seen since 2014

Aquifer dropped below 630 feet on Tuesday

Aquifer readings at the J-17 well in Bexar County this week

As this hot and generally dry summer continues on, the Edwards Aquifer has dropped to its lowest level in nearly a decade.

Key Points

  • The aquifer dropped below 630 feet on Tuesday, July 18
  • Lowest level recorded since September 2014
  • Only slim (10%) rain chances in the forecast this weekend
  • The heat will still be the main focus leading up to August
  • Stage 2 water restrictions are still in place in San Antonio

It’s no secret that we could use a pattern change that would transition to more favorable conditions for rain. Drought is present, grasses are drying out, and the Edwards Aquifer level has been dropping.

Lowest reading in nearly a decade

On Tuesday, July 18, the aquifer dropped below 630 feet, with a reading of 628.7 feet at the J-17 Well in Bexar County.

A reading that low hasn’t been recorded since September of 2014, when the aquifer ended up dropping all the way down to 625.9 feet.

Here’s a look at some of the historical low points that the aquifer has seen in years past:

The Edwards Aquifer level dropped below 630 feet Tuesday, the lowest since 2014.

How does the aquifer work?

The Edwards Aquifer has three zones: the contributing zone, the recharge zone, and the artesian zone.

  • Contributing Zone: This zone is found in the Hill Country. When rain falls in this area, it runs into the recharge zone where it eventually enters the aquifer.
  • Recharge Zone: This zone is where portions of the aquifer are fractured and visible on land. Limestone is typically visible in these areas. This is where the the water enters the aquifer itself after raining in the contributing zone. Rain that falls directly on the recharge zone can also enter the aquifer at this point.
  • Artesian Zone: This zone is where San Antonio sits. Pressure from all of the water builds up here, and wells are then used to harvest that water. An example of this includes the J-17 Well in Bexar County, which is where Your Weather Authority gets the daily aquifer readings brought to you during newscasts.

For an in-depth look at the inner-workings of the Edwards Aquifer and how it is regulated, check out this KSAT Explains episode!

There are three different zones attributed to the Edwards Aquifer.

Rainfall update in San Antonio

It has generally been a dry summer, with the heat being the main story in South Central Texas. Here are a few rainfall stats so far:

  • Since July 1: 0.13 inches recorded at San Antonio International Airport
  • Since June 1: 1.04 inches recorded at San Antonio International Airport
  • Since January 1: 12.88 inches recorded at San Antonio International Airport
Rainfall update in San Antonio

Looking ahead, the heat will still be the main focus of the forecast for the foreseeable future, but as high pressure moves slightly west, a stray rain chance (~10%) enters the picture this weekend. Still bet on more of us staying dry than not, so here’s hoping we find a better pattern change heading into August!

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About the Author:

Meteorologist Mia Montgomery joined the KSAT Weather Authority Team in September 2022. As a Floresville native, Mia grew up in the San Antonio area and always knew that she wanted to return home. She previously worked as a meteorologist at KBTX in Bryan-College Station and is a fourth-generation Aggie.