Flow Protection

Measures to ensure minimum continuous springflows and a workable plan for long-term protection of our water resource

Flow Protection Measures

Voluntary Irrigation Suspension Program Option (VISPO)

VISPO is a voluntary program open to participation primarily to eligible holders of irrigation water rights who are willing to suspend use of all or a portion of their authorized withdrawal rights in exchange for financial compensation. The EAA will determine on October 1 if the aquifer has declined to a level at or below 635 feet above mean sea level in the J-17 index well in San Antonio. If this condition exists, program participants must suspend withdrawals for the following calendar year, beginning January 1The goal of this voluntary program is to enroll 40,000 acre-feet of permitted irrigation rights that will remain unused in years of severe drought.

Regional Water Conservation Program (RWCP)

The purpose of the Regional Water Conservation Program (RWCP) is to realize the conservation potential of the Edwards Aquifer.  The plan will offer incentives to municipalities to encourage water conservation in exchange for half of all conserved water to remain unpumped in the Aquifer for 15 years.  This means that of the 20,000 targeted acre-feet conserved, 10,000 acre-feet will remain in the Aquifer to sustain aquifer levels in support of continued springflow.The goal of the program is to conserve 20,000 acre-feet of permitted or exempt Edwards Aquifer withdrawals.

The RWCP currently includes activities targeted at Municipal water providers and assistance through low-flow toilet programs, leak detection, and other community specific efforts.

Stage V Critical Management Period

The inclusion of Stage V Critical Period Managment to the previous stages I-IV includes a reduction of 44% from any Edwards Aquifer groundwater permit.  Triggers for the Stage V are 625 MSL (Monthly) for the San Antonio Pool at J-17 and 840 MSL for the Uvalde Pool at J-27. 

Use of SAWS Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR)

This measure to minimize the impacts of incidental take from extended drought is the third element in the package of springflow protection measures. It utilizes the SAWS ASR facility for storage and delivery of Aquifer water leased by the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA). When triggers are reached SAWS will use water stored in the ASR to serve as a base load supply in its surface area near to the springs. An amount equivalent to the water recovered from the ASR will be used to offset SAW’s Edwards demand. EAA will acquire, through a three-tier lease and option, 50,000 ac-ft/yr of Edwards permits.

© 2017 Edwards Aquifer Authority