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Secret of disappearing water revealed by BCRAWD

By Sandy Jennings BCC Staff Writer

Courtesy photos
BCRAWD Board President Don Sloan presents award of appreciation to Judy and Paul Newman of the Mayan Dude Ranch

Dr. Ron Green, a groundwater hydrologist from Southwest Research Institute for the past 20 years, presented results from a three-year effort. The study concerned the revised conceptualization of the contribution of water from the Medina River to the Edwards Aquifer, to the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District (BCRAGD). Green spoke at the BCRAGD quarterly meeting held Thursday, July 14.
With regard to the role Medina Lake plays in recharging the Edwards Aquifer, Green stated, “Groundwater going out of the Lake is about 78,000 acre feet per year. I don’t have a problem with that.”
He went on to explain how they continue to measure sub-surfaces within Medina River and other feeders to get a better understanding of the loss of water experienced by the lake.
“What we found are significant gravels in Medina River,” Green said. “Those gravels that are highly prolific in conveying water around here include the Leona gravels. The only two places – only two rivers – that we’ve seen this in this area with that (Leona) gravel are the Leona River South of Uvalde and the Medina River. In both cases, they convey an awful amount of water.”
Green explained all the apparatus and equations used to monitor the yearly flow.
“When is all is said and done, 88,000 acre feet of water in an average year is flowing through those gravels,” he said.
Basically, what Green and his crew discovered looking back at the equations, was a theory of the disappearance of the groundwater of Medina Lake.
“Loss of water of Medina Lake isn’t water that infiltrates down to the Edwards (aquifer). It’s water that goes out those gravels.”
Summing up his research, Green stated, “This work provided the basis for a redefinition of the relationship between Medina Lake and Diversion Lake’s system and the Edwards Aquifer.”
Following Green’s presentation, BCRAGD General Manager David Mauk presented the Mayan Dude Ranch with the Watershed Partner Award, reading a heartfelt prepared statement.
“Your (Mayan Dude Ranch) hospitality and collaboration with our district in allowing access to surface water sites has promoted the water quality protection efforts for our local community,” Mauk said. “This cooperation has enabled our district to assist scientists from the Texas Commission Environmental Quality, as well as, the San Antonio River Authority.
He continued, “We’d also like to applaud your efforts in hosting the Texas Watershed Protection Short Course over the years that a number of our staff has attended. You’ve also hosted the Texas Environmental Law Enforcement workshop that our staff has also attended. We just want to say thank you.”
Judy and Paul Neuman accepted the award on behalf of the Mayan and in return, thanked the BCRAGD for “all of their work taking care of the river and waters of Bandera County.”
Mauk presented the FY2016, Second Quarter report covering nine different reports that can be reviewed on their website.
For more information, visit www.bcragd.org.