AUSTIN (KXAN) — Swimming holes are a summer tradition for some, but one that might be hard to find in Austin.
Two iconic swimming holes on the Barton Creek Greenbelt are Campbell’s Hole and Twin Falls. Both of these are currently dry, likely caused by a lack of rain in central Texas.
The dried-up riverbeds now provide plenty of spots for small reptiles to sun themselves, an important part of their biology. Benches, swings and steps go unused by humans, and the usual jovial party atmosphere at Twin Falls is also absent.
Outside of Austin presents more options, but natural springs aren’t immune to drought and heat.
Jacob’s Well in Hays County is spring-fed and also at a lower level than normal.
“We are well below average right now but the spring is still flowing,” said Jay Taylor, Hays County lead park specialist for operations. “Obviously we would be very worried if this drought continues into the middle of summer. It is never good entering a hot summer already in drought conditions.”
Travis County officials closed that aspect of the preserve after the February 2021 winter storm caused rocks to break off around the grotto and fall into the water, creating a public safety issue.
A County spokesperson told KXAN recently part of the pool and beach may open later in May — roughly a year after officials originally closed it.
What is still open for swimming?
Wimberley Parks and Recreation director Richard Shaver says that Blue Hole in Wimberly is still open for swimmers. He says that he doesn’t expect Blue Hole will close this year.
“We do not anticipate having to close due to water levels at Blue Hole Regional Park. We also receive monthly water testing from the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment through Texas State University and we have not had to close due to contamination of our water,” Shaver said.
Krause Springs in Burnet County is confident in its spring source. Their website claims a constant flow “even during times of extreme drought.”
“Both our manmade and natural pools have some of the cleanest natural Texas spring water flowing through it non-stop, so the water never becomes stagnant, and is swimmable year-round,” the website reads.
The U.S. Geological Survey provides real-time data of stream and spring conditions. Check out Travis County:
KXAN reached out to Austin Parks and Recreation for comment on the drought conditions, but have not received a reply.