Quality and Quantity. Where do we stand?
To manage the groundwater in Bastrop County on a sustainable basis the amount of water returned to the aquifers (recharged) needs to equal the amount of water withdrawn (pumped). Naturally, groundwater is recharged from rainfall and surface waters such as Bastrop Lake and the Colorado River. However, as we develop the land — converting its uses in ways that cause water to “run off” the land, into the river, and out to the Gulf of Mexico without being returned to the ground — less rainwater gets stored in the ground for future use.
If, at the same time more water is pumped than is being recharged, the resource in being used in a non-sustainable manner … the resource is being “mined” like coal or oil. Unlike coal and oil, there is a connection between the surface and the groundwater. When the water table declines, there is likely to be an impact on the plants, wildlife, and humans that inhabit the surface and depend on water for their livelihood and survival. It is the connection between groundwater and surface water that keeps our plants alive, our rivers, streams, and springs flowing, our economy robust, and our quality of life at the level we currently enjoy.
The chart above is the Region K projected water demand for Bastrop County compared to the recharge rate of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer.