Program of the USGS in Texas
Jacob's Well Spring Monitoring Project
Jacob's Well spring in Hays County, Texas is one of the largest springs in the Trinity Aquifer. The spring emerges within the channel of Cypress Creek and provides the primary base flow of the creek. The spring often is inundated by storm flow in the creek, but spring flow seldom ceases when inundated. Cypress Creek contributes to Blanco River streamflow; furthermore, a portion of creek flow is believed to contribute to Edwards Aquifer recharge and contribute to the municipal water supply of City of Wimberley. Jacob's Well flowed through the drought of the 1950s, but stopped for the first time in recorded history in June 2000 after only three months of drought. In December 2004, Jacob's Well was flowing so strongly as a result of heavy November rains that scuba diving into the orifice was difficult.
Because Jacob's Well represents a critical regional discharge point of the Trinity Aquifer, long-term continuous real-time water quantity and quality monitoring is needed to evaluate the possible impacts that human activity has on this groundwater. The data also provide basic data inputs to the previous described models. Therefore, the USGS has implemented a real-time flow monitoring station established to collect data during an initial two-year period with the anticipation that long-term funding for permanent flow monitoring will be secured. This project addresses the initiation of a continuous water quantity and quality monitoring station at Jacob's Well. Changes in the behavior of these parameters over time can alert researchers and decisions makers to changes in the way the system responds to weather, climate, and land-use changes.
The portion of the Trinity aquifer discharging at Jacob's Well provides a high quality water source for domestic and other groundwater users in the region. The quantity and quality of water emerging from Jacob's Well provides an important health-of-the-ecosystem indicator as well as a single point from which basic data required for future scientific investigations and informed decision making can be collected. Currently, little is known about, and sparse data exist for, the hydrogeology of Jacob's Well compared to other major springs such as Barton Springs or San Marcos Springs in the Edwards Aquifer. A better understanding of the complex processes that control or influence the Trinity Aquifer is imperative for optimal use of the water resource by both humans and groundwater and surface-water ecosystems. A major multi-disciplinary scientific goal for the region is that the availability, quality, and limits of natural resources sustaining urbanization can be defined and assessed using biologic, hydrologic, geologic, and land-use change models. However, basic input data and system conceptualization needs to be developed before comprehensive(entire ecosystem) models can be constructed.
Barton Springs Monitors
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