Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Texas Groundwater. Law Of Biggest Pump. Interconnectivity. About Proposition 6. "Fifth of November". 300 Santee Sioux.


For "Travel Tuesday":  let's see what is, or what is not underground, in TX:

Aquifers of Texas

Major Aquifers of Texas map

"The state of Texas covers 23 aquifers (7 major and 16 minor aquifers) that underlie approximately ¾ of the state. The Ogallala Aquifer accounts for about 90% of the water in all of Texas aquifers. Groundwater from Texas aquifers is used for irrigation, municipal use, manufacturing, and livestock production. Pumping of water from many aquifers in Texas has resulted in a significant lowering of the water table."

Texas Groundwater Basics

Texas Groundwater

Windmill at Big Bend Ranch
Photo courtesy of TPWD

"Groundwater is a precious resource in Texas. According to the Texas Water Development Board, water from aquifers or groundwater provides over 55% of the state’s water supply. A vast majority of the groundwater (nearly 80%) is used to irrigate crops. Cities such as San Antonio, El Paso, Houston and Amarillo also depend, to varying degrees, on groundwater to supply homes, businesses and industries. Many Texas residents in unincorporated areas also rely on groundwater from individual wells.

Additionally, aquifers support springs that provide the majority of the flows to our most iconic rivers, including the Guadalupe, San Marcos, Frio, Nueces and Llano, and sustain Barton Springs Pool and other beloved Texas swimming holes. Many of these springs are also home to unique and often endangered animals and plants.

Balmorhea State Park. Spring-fed Pool.  Photo by Rob McCorkle, TPWD

Balmorhea State Park. Spring-fed Pool
Photo by Rob McCorkle, TPWD

As pressure on our state’s limited water resource continues to grow, Texas must ensure that our groundwater resources are managed sustainably in order to protect these aquifers and critical spring flows as well as the aquatic species that depend on them for their survival. In some parts of the state, groundwater is being used much more quickly than it is being replenished. For example, the massive Ogallala Aquifer in the Texas Panhandle, which provides the majority of groundwater supplies in Texas, is being pumped at a rate six times greater than the recharge rate.


Comanche Springs Pool near Ft. Stocketon in 1938 Source: Image captured from rootsweb.org

Comanche Springs Pool near Ft. Stockton in 1938

In many places in Texas, groundwater resources and the springs they feed have been depleted. Comanche Springs in Fort Stockton, once a critical watering hole for West Texas travelers and a major tourist destination, ceased to flow in the 1960s due to heavy groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation above the springs. It currently flows only intermittently at low levels during the non-irrigation season. It is imperative that moving forward, we manage these precious resources more sustainably.

Heavy pumping from Edwards-Trinity Aquifer for irrigation caused Comanche Springs flow to decline after 1947

Comanche Springs and Pool depleted as a result of pumping.

Groundwater Law in Texas

Texas’ guiding principle for groundwater management has been the rule of capture. Adopted in a 1904 court ruling, this rule gives the landowner the right to capture an unlimited amount of groundwater by tapping into the underlying aquifer. With only a couple of limited exceptions, the landowner is not liable for injury to another adjacent landowner caused by excessive pumping as long as the injury is not intentional. For this reason, the rule of capture is often referred to as the law of the biggest pump.

Little Arkansas Spring flowing into the Blanco River Photo by Charles Kruvand

Little Arkansas Spring flowing into the Blanco River
Photo courtesy of Charles Kruvand

Our historical approach has been to limit control of groundwater pumping. This practice appears to have been adequate when neighboring landowners were withdrawing similar, limited amounts of water or they were not pumping enough to significantly affect each other’s ability to withdraw groundwater. However, with increased demands on groundwater, the rule of capture is no longer sufficient to protect this limited water supply."  More at: http://texaslivingwaters.org/groundwater/groundwater-and-texas-law/



"What is Interconnectivity?

The water cycle, which includes both surface and groundwater, is a dynamic and interconnected system. In many instances, surface water, which includes water flowing through our creeks, streams, and rivers, has its origins below the surface.

Graphic Courtesy of USGS

Graphic Courtesy of USGS








The Hill Country and Edwards Plateau

Springs flowing into the Pecos River Photo courtesy of Charles Kruvand

Springs flowing into the Pecos River
Photo courtesy of Charles Kruvand

"The influence of spring flow on creeks and rivers is strongly evident in the Hill Country and the Edwards Plateau, where groundwater pours out of the Edwards-Trinity (Plateau) Aquifer through springs to form the headwaters of the Pecos, Devils, Nueces, Frio, Sabinal, Medina, and Guadalupe, Llano, and San Saba Rivers. Springs and other natural discharges of the Trinity Group Aquifer supply additional water to most of these rivers as they flow east and southeastward across central Texas towards the coast. Natural discharges of the Trinity Group Aquifer also form the headwaters of the Pedernales and Blanco Rivers."

Up on the Edwards Plateau, USGS stream flow data collected during the summer of 2006 show that the flow of the spring-fed Llano River accounted for approximately 75% of the water flowing into the Highland Lakes, which provide water for the Austin area and downstream.

The Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer and the Brazos River

Chick Bend, Brazos River below Possum Kingdom Lake  Photo courtesy of Charles Kruvand

Chick Bend, Brazos River below Possum Kingdom Lake
Photo courtesy of Charles Kruvand

The United States Geological Survey conducted a gain-loss study and an analysis of historical streamflow measurements for the Brazos River reach from McLennan County down through Fort Bend County. Based on both the current study and the historical data, there is an appreciable increase in flows of the Brazos River as it trends southeast across the Falls County line towards the city of Bryan. Underlying that reach and supporting the flows of the Brazos are the Carrizo-Wilcox, Queen City, Sparta, and Yegua-Jackson Aquifers.

The Canadian River and the Ogallala Aquifer

The Canadian River Wagon Bridge is the longest pin-connected bridge in Texas, spanning 3,255 ft with Parker through trusses

Natural discharges from the Northern Ogallala Aquifer support the flows of the Canadian River as it traverses the Texas Panhandle. In the eastern portion of the Texas Panhandle where the Ogallala Aquifer has not been excessively dewatered, it also discharges to a variety of smaller streams and rivers within the Canadian River Basin. In Hemphill County, for example, numerous tributaries to the Canadian River, including the Washita River, Red Deer Creek, and Gageby Creek among others, all reportedly flow continuously even through drought periods due to natural discharges from the Ogallala Aquifer."  More at: http://texaslivingwaters.org/groundwater/groundwater-in-texas/


Election Day – Today, Nov. 5



HOUSTON, TX – "Believe it or not, republicans, democrats, corporate lobbyists and environmental advocates have finally agreed on something: they all support Proposition 6.

  • Does NOT raise taxes on citizens or businesses
  • Protects our growing cities, businesses, farmers and ranchers against future drought
  • Provides the water Texas needs to attract jobs and grow the economy
  • Secures our long-term water needs through conservation efforts and water projects including the construction of new pipelines and reservoirs
  • Provides local control by allowing water districts and municipalities to determine water projects and oversee how the money is being spent."

See more at: http://www.watertexas.com/news/prop-6-brings-all-political-parties-together



Of Texas’ 196 lakes – Caddo Lake – is the only natural lake.


Average Annual Texas Precipitation,
1971–2000, and Major River Basins of Texas


Texas map showing 23 river basins










Do you know about the groundwater in your state?

Do you do your best to conserve your precious water?


On This Day:

King James learns of gunpowder plot, Nov 5, 1605:

"Early in the morning, King James I of England learns that a plot to explode the Parliament building has been foiled, hours before he was scheduled to sit with the rest of the British government in a general parliamentary session.

At about midnight on the night of November 4-5, Sir Thomas Knyvet, a justice of the peace, found Guy Fawkes lurking in a cellar under the Parliament building and ordered the premises searched. Some 20 barrels of gunpowder were found, and Fawkes was taken into custody. During a torture session on the rack, Fawkes revealed that he was a participant in an English Catholic conspiracy to annihilate England's Protestant government and replace it with Catholic leadership."


The Fifth of November.  English Folk Verse (c.1870)

    "Remember, remember!
    The fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder treason and plot;
    I know of no reason
    Why the Gunpowder treason
    Should ever be forgot!
    Guy Fawkes and his companions
    Did the scheme contrive,
    To blow the King and Parliament
    All up alive.
    Threescore barrels, laid below,
    To prove old England's overthrow.
    But, by God's providence, him they catch,
    With a dark lantern, lighting a match!
    A stick and a stake
    For King James's sake!
    If you won't give me one,
    I'll take two,
    The better for me,
    And the worse for you.
    A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
    A penn'orth of cheese to choke him,
    A pint of beer to wash it down,
    And a jolly good fire to burn him.
    Holloa, boys! holloa, boys! make the bells ring!
    Holloa, boys! holloa boys! God save the King!
    Hip, hip, hooor-r-r-ray!"

"The poem is sometimes referred to as 'Please to remember the fifth of November'. It serves as a warning to each new generation that treason will never be forgotten. In England the 5th of November is still commemorated each year with fireworks and bonfires culminating with the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes (the guy). The 'guys' are made by children by filling old clothes with crumpled newspapers to look like a man. Tradition allows British children to display their 'guys' to passers-by and asking for " A penny for the guy"."


300 Santee Sioux sentenced to hang in Minnesota, Nov 5, 1862:

"On this day in Minnesota, more than 300 Santee Sioux are found guilty of raping and murdering Anglo settlers and are sentenced to hang. A month later, President Abraham Lincoln commuted all but 39 of the death sentences. One of the Indians was granted a last-minute reprieve, but the other 38 were hanged simultaneously on December 26 in a bizarre mass execution witnessed by a large crowd of approving Minnesotans.

For nearly half a century, Anglo settlers invaded the Santee Sioux territory in the beautiful Minnesota Valley, and government pressure gradually forced the Indians to relocate to smaller reservations along the Minnesota River.

At the reservations, the Santee were badly mistreated by corrupt federal Indian agents and contractors; during July 1862, the agents pushed the Indians to the brink of starvation by refusing to distribute stores of food because they had not yet received their customary kickback payments. The contractors callously ignored the Santee's pleas for help.

Outraged and at the limits of their endurance, the Santee finally struck back, killing Anglo settlers and taking women as hostages.  The subsequent trials of the prisoners gave little attention to the injustices the Indians had suffered on the reservations and largely catered to the popular desire for revenge. However, President Lincoln's commutation of the majority of the death sentences clearly reflected his understanding that the Minnesota Uprising had been rooted in a long history of Anglo abuse of the Santee Sioux."



Ray was taking Shay to the doctor, and Jay is still in Onalaska, TX, so I thought I had better do something about getting the little vibration in my van checked out.  After years of driving Caddies and Lincolns, I like a smooth ride! Though the only time my van had a really smooth ride was when it still had Michelins on it.

The minute I got on the freeway, I wished I hadn't, or at least had a CB, so that I knew what was going on. There is another back-roads way into Conroe, further west, but once you are on the freeway, you can't get to it.  The traffic came to a dead stop for over half an hour.  I asked a truck driver what was going on, and he said that a truck had overturned a few miles down the freeway.  Many got onto the feeder, but I knew better than that, as they would get struck at the FM 1097 traffic light and then be steered back onto the freeway as there is no feeder road past FM 1097.  There was a mile long wait at that light. The traffic started to move slowly, but it took 3/4 hour to go 4 miles.  By the time we all got to the accident site at League Line Road, the overturned truck was gone, and there were just workers clearing up the debris on the side of the road.  I hope no one was hurt.

Pete at the front-end shop took the van for a test drive, and told me to get the tires re-balanced. At the tire shop he found out that one of the tires has a wiggle.  They didn't have that size tire in stock, so I went to the tire store where I bought the tires.  They wiggled out of their 55,000 mile warranty, even though these tires only have 17,000 miles on them.  Said I must have hit something with it, and they didn't have one either.  So now I will have to find a tire that size.  I hope that cures the slight vibration.

A few other stops, then it started to drizzle all the way home, and turned into a gloomy, dark day.

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