Ask the editor: What is a Stage II Alarm Drought?

The Tom Miller Dam in Austin was constructed for flood control and generating hydroelectric power.

The Tom Miller Dam in Austin was constructed for flood control and generating hydroelectric power.

Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, which covers parts of Travis and Hays counties, declared a Stage II Alarm Drought on July 12. Dry conditions since May have caused the flow levels at Barton Springs to decline.


Drought statuses are partly determined by the district based on the 10-day average discharge at Barton Springs, measured in cubic feet per second.


There are four drought stages. Stage I represents no actual drought but a period when water conservation could be beneficial to the aquifer. Stage II droughts are triggered when discharge at Barton Springs is between 20-38 cubic feet per second. Discharge from 14-20 cubic feet per second triggers Stage III Critical Droughts and anything below 14 cubic feet per second is considered a Stage IV Exceptional Drought.


During Stage II, those with water permits are required to reduce water pumpage by at least 20 percent. Restricting outdoor water use, such as landscaping and shutting off features that use running water could help conserve water during droughts. 



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