By: Kaitie Moore Underwood | REALTOR®, Blue Collar Commercial Group


In the picturesque Hill Country of Central Texas, a perfect storm is brewing—a convergence of heat, drought, and relentless population growth that is pushing local aquifers and springs to their limits. As a commercial real estate agent concerned about responsible development and water conservation, I find myself increasingly troubled by the urgent need for Central Texas conservation districts to prioritize climate-focused management. The sustainability of our communities hinges on striking a balance between growth and conservation.


The Water Crisis Unveiled

Every other day, another concerned resident calls Charlie Flatten, the general manager of the Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District in Dripping Springs, with tales of dry water wells. The urgency of the situation becomes apparent when residents are forced to search for water trucks to fill their cisterns due to a shortage in Central Texas. The Trinity Aquifer, the lifeblood of this region, is currently at its lowest recorded level. Iconic natural springs, once a source of pride, are now dwindling or drying up, a testament to the harsh realities of extreme heat, relentless drought, and the growing demand for water.


To add to the complexity of the situation, private companies like Aqua Texas are pumping water beyond authorized limits to meet the surging demand. While conservation districts are striving to ensure responsible water management, Aqua Texas, a subsidiary of Essential Utilities, prioritizes profit over conservation. It’s a clash of interests where responsible development and water conservation face off against a business model that thrives on selling water to meet shareholders’ expectations.


The Environmental Defense Fund’s 2022 report shed light on a critical weakness in aquifer management across Texas. Some regions are managing groundwater in ways that could lead to its eventual exhaustion. This oversight arises from challenges like insufficient funding for groundwater data collection and a failure to account for the local impacts of increased groundwater pumping and drought.


Dry Springs in Central Texas

Central Texas boasts a rich history tied to its limestone aquifers, nurturing a unique collection of springs. These springs have supported human habitation for centuries, acting as focal points for ancient footpaths, Spanish roads, and now the bustling Interstate 35 corridor, one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation. However, Central Texas’s largest springs, sourced from the Edwards Aquifer, are facing their lowest flow levels on record.


San Marcos Springs, once the second-largest spring in Texas, is currently flowing at only 50% of its historical average for this time of year. Comal Springs in New Braunfels, the largest spring complex in Texas, has seen its primary spring run completely dry, with a flow rate at just 30% of the historical average for August. Las Moras Springs in Brackettville has also stopped flowing, while Barton Springs in Austin is operating at just 14% of its average flow.


This dire situation is reminiscent of the 1950s drought but with a crucial difference—Texas’ population has soared from less than 8 million to 30 million residents. The current heat and rainfall conditions are equally severe, prompting concerns about the unpredictability of drought duration and the ability of water suppliers to manage prolonged droughts effectively.


The Way Forward: Responsible Water Use

To address the water crisis in Central Texas, responsible water use must be a top priority. Summertime outdoor water use accounts for a significant portion of residential consumption, primarily driven by lawn irrigation. As the Texas Water Development Board points out, between 50% to 80% of residential consumption occurs outdoors, mainly on turf grass.


Calls for residents to let their lawns go dormant have been met with resistance, but it’s a crucial step towards conservation. As Eric Ingram, operations manager of a water supply company in Comfort, puts it, “We live in a desert now,” and priorities must shift accordingly.


Several cities, including Manor and Georgetown, have implemented restrictions on sprinkler use due to water shortages. The town of Wimberley has gone even further, banning all outdoor water use during the drought. These measures are essential to ensure the sustainability of water resources.


Sustainable Water Management

Sustainable growth in Central Texas requires multifaceted strategies. Repairing aging water systems, adopting water reuse technologies, constructing new reservoirs, and exploring desalination plants are essential components of a long-term solution. The Texas Water Infrastructure Network emphasizes the need for forward-thinking water management, especially in the face of population growth and unpredictable weather patterns.


The proposed state constitutional amendment, Proposition 6, to establish a state water fund in Texas signifies a growing awareness of the importance of water as a priority. However, the challenges remain significant, with federal funding decreasing and the need for creative solutions growing.


One such innovative approach is the “One Water” system, where a single authority oversees an integrated system for water supply, wastewater, and stormwater drainage, promoting water reuse at every turn. This approach can revolutionize how we manage water resources, ensuring greater resilience in the face of droughts and population growth.


The Case of Aqua Texas

In the midst of this water crisis, Aqua Texas stands as a stark example of the challenges faced by water managers and conservation districts. The Woodcreek neighborhood in Wimberley, serviced by Aqua Texas, has witnessed explosive growth, putting immense pressure on the region’s aquifers and springs.


Massive groundwater pumping, coupled with a severe drought, has exacerbated the situation. Aqua Texas, an investor-owned water utility, has been pumping water beyond authorized limits, pushing aquifer levels to alarming depths. This trend has severe consequences for iconic locations like Jacob’s Well, which has now dried up.


Aqua Texas has taken steps to mitigate the impacts of its pumping, including exploring alternative aquifers and investing in wastewater reuse technology. However, time is running out, and enforcement of reduced pumping remains a challenge.



Central Texas is at a crossroads, grappling with a water crisis that demands immediate attention and responsible action. Balancing growth with conservation is the key to ensuring the sustainability of this breathtaking region. As a commercial real estate agent and a proud Comal County resident, I believe it’s essential to prioritize responsible development practices, water conservation, and innovative solutions to secure the future of Central Texas’s water resources. The time to act is now, as our springs run dry and our aquifers face unprecedented stress. As Ryan Spencer of the Comal County Conservation Alliance says, “It’s do or dry.”


(Sources: Dylan Baddour of Inside Climate News and Alejandra Martinez of The Texas Tribune)

Your Partners in Commercial Real Estate Success

At Blue Collar Commercial Group, we don’t just work in the Texas Hill Country commercial market—we live here. Our deep-rooted understanding of this unique market, combined with our unmatched expertise in commercial real estate, positions us as your ideal partner for navigating the complexities of office space selection.

From identifying your perfect office space to closing the deal with confidence and ease, our team of seasoned commercial real estate professionals is dedicated to guiding you every step of the way.

Ready to make your mark in the Texas Hill Country commercial real estate landscape?

Contact Blue Collar Commercial Group today. Let us empower you with the insights, resources, and personalized support needed to turn your commercial real estate aspirations into reality.

Reach out to us now and embark on your journey toward commercial real estate excellence in Texas Hill Country.

Download Free e-Book!
Free Commercial Real Estate Market Reports

Twelve amazing tips that will help you value your property, lease vacant space, and find the perfect location for your business.

Download Free Market Reports!
Free Commercial Real Estate Market Reports

Gain Immediate Access to Essential Market Insights With Our Exclusive Quarterly Commercial Real Estate Market Reports for San Antonio and Austin.

Subscribe Now! Get Your Weekly Dose of Real Estate Wisdom

Join our community of savvy investors by subscribing to our blog. Every Tuesday, we’ll bring the week’s best articles and insights directly to you. Ready to step up your real estate knowledge?

Newsletter Form (#5) (#12)

About the Author: Kaitie Moore Underwood

Kaitie Moore Underwood
Kaitie Moore Underwood's roots in competitive rodeo in Texas intertwined with her academic pursuits at the University of Houston, where she met her husband, Hank. Their move to the Hill Country in 2021 marked the beginning of both their family and Kaitie's successful career in real estate, assisting 18 families in her first year. With a background in the hospitality industry, recognized for her service excellence by the Starwood Hotel Sales Organization, Kaitie has honed her skills in financial analysis, strategy, and marketing. Now, as a pivotal member of the Blue Collar Commercial Group, she continues her professional ascent, consistently exceeding expectations through her dedication to relationships and solutions.

Leave A Comment



Newsletter Form (#5)


12 Tips for Strategic Commercial
Real Estate Transactions

Twelve amazing tips that will help you value your property, lease vacant space, and find the perfect location for your business.

Establish a pricing strategy
Understand investors’ points of interest
Know your market
Attracting tenants
Lease vs. Buy
Much more!