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Smith B.A.,Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District | Hunt B.B.,Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District | Andrews A.G.,Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District | Watson J.A.,Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Earth Sciences | Year: 2015

The Blanco River of central Texas provides an important hydrologic link between surface and groundwater as it traverses two major karst aquifer systems—the Trinity and Edwards Aquifers. The Blanco River is characterized by alternating gaining and losing stretches due to the presence of springs that discharge water into the river and swallets that drain water from the river. The region consists primarily of Lower Cretaceous limestone, dolomite, and marls. One of the more significant springs along the Blanco River is Pleasant Valley Spring. During below-average flow conditions, Pleasant Valley Spring becomes the headwaters of the Blanco River even though the headwaters, under wet conditions, are about 50 km upstream. Water that enters the Edwards Aquifer from the Blanco River can eventually discharge at both San Marcos Springs to the south and Barton Springs to the north. During periods of extreme drought, when other recharging streams are dry, the Blanco River can provide enough water to the Edwards Aquifer that will help maintain flow at Barton Springs where endangered species of salamanders need sufficient flow of high-quality groundwater. In the western part of the study area, increasing rates of pumping from the Trinity Aquifer, combined with impact from drought, are reducing heads in the aquifer and are subsequently reducing springflows (such as from Pleasant Valley Spring) that sustain the Blanco River. Decreasing flow in the Blanco River can lead to less recharge to the Edwards Aquifer and less discharge from San Marcos and Barton Springs. A better understanding of these aquifer systems and how they are influenced by the Blanco River is important for management of groundwater in an area undergoing significant population growth. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015. Source


Smith B.A.,Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District | Hunt B.B.,Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District | Andrews A.G.,Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District | Watson J.A.,Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Earth Sciences | Year: 2015

The Blanco River is a very important resource for water supplies in the Hill Country of central Texas. Some communities and properties along the river use the surface water directly. But, the Blanco River is more significant in the role it plays in providing recharge to the karstic Trinity and Edwards Aquifers. Recent studies have given a better indication of the complexity of the interactions between surface water and groundwater in the area. Besides being a water supply to a population of several hundred thousand people, water originally flowing in the Blanco River provides flow to springs that host a number of endangered species. The Blanco River is characterized by alternating gaining and losing stretches due to the presence of springs that discharge water into the river and swallets that drain water from the river. Trinity units outcrop in the western part of the study area, and Edwards units outcrop in the eastern part of the study area. Normal faulting along the Balcones Fault Zone has juxtaposed the older, stratigraphically underlying Trinity units against the Edwards units to the east. The region consists primarily of Lower Cretaceous limestone, dolomite, and marl. One of the more significant springs along the Blanco River is Pleasant Valley Spring. During below-average flow conditions, Pleasant Valley Spring becomes the headwaters of the Blanco River even though the headwaters, under wet conditions, are about 50 km upstream. These studies, summarized in this paper, provide a greater understanding of the surface water and groundwater resources in the area which will help guide policies for groundwater management and preservation of springflows and groundwater supplies. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

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