John Cartwright, manager of the Plateau Underground Water Conservation & Supply District, has good news for area residents, and another reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving season: Water levels have risen substantially in wells across the county.

Increases of 30 to 40 feet are common. The level in the monitor well behind Eldorado City Hall has risen over 45 feet and a well on Mary Leigh Dunagan’s Tisdale Ranch showed an increase of rise of 51.6 feet between May 24th of this year and November 5th. The Overby Ranch showed a rise of 74.7 feet.

“I have to assume it’s the added pressure from all the rain in an aquifer confined by a layer of limestone that’s bringing the dramatic rise in well levels,” Cartwright said.

Cartwright says the good news is likely to keep coming since the playa lakes that dot the landscape across the Eldorado Divide are full and continue seeping into the aquifer.

Just to the east of us, Caroline Runge, manager of the Menard Underground Water District, says that springs are flowing that haven’t flowed in decades, including the spring at the Colonel Black home site at Fort McKavett.

Runge says the dramatic rise in the Edwards-Trinity (Plateau) aquifer emphasizes what she and others have been saying for years, that the average yearly rainfall on the Eldorado Divide isn’t sufficient to recharge the aquifer, resulting in greatly diminished spring flows, and in some cases, springs that have dried up entirely.

Rainfall totaling 20-40 inches fell across much of Schleicher County beginning in late August and continuing well into October. Playa lakes have remained full for weeks, including the one at the south end of the Schleicher County Airport runway that blocked U.S. 190 for six weeks.