Drought affects wells at Deep Eddy Pool

Historic drought conditions have caused the two wells feeding Deep Eddy Pool to go almost dry forcing the continued closure of the shallow portion of the swimming hole until groundwater levels rise.

The deeper end of the pool will continue to be open daily for lap swimmers and others.

“We have all felt the effects of 100-degree temperatures and lack of rain,” said Tom Nelson, who oversees Deep Eddy Pool as part of his duties as an Aquatics Division Manager. “The lack of water for the Deep Eddy wells is unprecedented in anyone’s memory.

“The City of Austin already is looking into alternatives to supply water to the pool,” Nelson said. “Of course, a possible quick fix would be substantial rainfall.”

The shallow end at Deep Eddy was closed Aug. 28 after a pump malfunction on the well used to fill that portion of the pool.  Still, even with a more efficient pump, the low groundwater levels are causing continued problems.

Deep Eddy, built in 1916, is a popular spot with families, especially its shallow end. City officials suggest Barton Springs, Northwest and Big Stacy pools as nearby options for those who have used the now closed portion of Deep Eddy.

Major improvements at Deep Eddy, including potentially new, deeper wells are already scheduled, funded by $5 million in bonds approved by Austin voters in 2006.  Those projects slated to be completed in 2011 may be accelerated because of issues raised by this year’s drought.

The City’s Watershed Protection Department will work with Parks and Recreation staff to evaluate the wells to determine what can be done to help water flows into the pool.

“The current drought has taken its toll on Austin’s groundwater resources,” said Scott Hiers, geologist with the Watershed Protection Department. “Deep Eddy Pool, which is fed with two hand-dug wells, is having difficulty obtaining groundwater for the pool. We will be evaluating existing conditions of the wells to identify options for keeping the entire pool open.”

Sept. 4, 2009

Contact: Victor Ovalle, Parks and Recreation, (512) 974-6745

Wendy Morgan, Watershed Protection, (512) 974-2090

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