WIMBERLEY, Texas (KXAN) — Jacob’s Well has now had zero flow of water for the sixth time since the summer of 2000, according to the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association.
“There are multiple factors contributing to Jacob’s Well’s near-dry condition, and it’s crucial to recognize that it’s not just one issue at play,” the nonprofit said Friday.
David Baker, the nonprofit’s founder and executive director, said Jacob’s Well water level has dropped below the creek bed—something he has never seen in his 35 years in the area.
Jacob’s Well has been closed to swimmers for the last two summers, which Baker said is impacting local tourism. He said swimming in Jacob’s Well draws people from across the world and state.
“Hundreds of thousands of people that come here…aren’t going come here because we don’t have this water,” he said. “It’s a crisis for our community and for our region.”
Earlier in 2023, Hays County Parks officials said Jacob’s Well would be closed to swimming for the “foreseeable future.” At the time, parks and recreation staff said swim reservations would remain closed until water flow was sustainable and if staff deemed it safe for swim access.
The nonprofit said part of the Jacob’s Well issue was that Central Texas was still in extreme and exceptional drought conditions. Baker also said excessive groundwater pumping was a big factor.
He said since you can’t see groundwater levels, the creeks and springs are indicators of the aquifer’s health. Baker added that these creeks and rivers across the Hill Country are connected to groundwater—from the Blanco River to Barton Springs to the San Marcos Springs.
“These systems are all interconnected, and it’s really important for us to manage those for the benefit of the environment…the wildlife, but also for all the people that depend on that water,” Baker said.
Baker said the best thing people can do to help is to not water lawns since about 60% of water use comes from outdoor water use. He said sustainable groundwater policy and drought contingency rules help ensure spring flows in times of drought.
“As we grow in population, we’re going to have to become even better at water conservation if we want to have both the growth and the beauty of these aquatic systems,” he said.