Jacob’s Well, a beloved swimming hole in the Texas hill country, has long served as an oasis to escape the brutal summer heat — but now it’s running dry, photos show.
“Normally, this spring will flow 4 million gallons a day. Right now we’re at zero,” Hays County Park Manager Jay Taylor said in July. “And it’s not looking good in the future.”
Jacob’s Well, located in Wimberley, earned its name after a Texas settler came upon it in the early 1850s, according to Hays County officials. Struck by its beauty, the settler likened it to “a well in Bible times.”
Filled with crystal clear water that’s 68 degrees, it’s not hard to see why a Texan might be moved, spiritually or otherwise, by Jacob’s Well. And it was, until recently, a popular destination for locals and people visiting central Texas.
Under normal circumstances it makes a great photo-op or a refreshing swim and the seemingly bottomless hole at its heart is perfect for a cannonball.
But the well has been closed for swimming since June 2022, according to water management officials, and it’s unlikely that will change anytime soon.
Jacob’s waters have receded, photos show, reduced to a watery cavern surrounded by parched rock and earth.
Long-term drought conditions are part of the problem, but far from the whole story, according to the Watershed Association, a nonprofit organization that works to protect and maintain the well.
Excessive groundwater pumping “to accommodate rapid population growth” is a significant problem as well, the Watershed Association said in a recent social media post.
The group said it has been meeting with landowners, regulators, officials and others to work toward a solution and to save Jacob’s Well from what it calls an “emergency situation.”
“Our community and the many visitors from around the world all share the desire to see crystal-clear flowing water from this ancient and cherished spring once again,” the group said. “However, raising awareness and encouraging our community and developers to consider the impacts of their development’s design on aquifer health and spring flow is essential.”
The group called on area residents to help conserve the remaining water by ceasing outdoor watering.
“Maybe our tears will fill the well,” one person commented.
Most of Hays County is under extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
“Hundreds of thousands of people that come here … aren’t going (to) come here because we don’t have this water,” Watershed Association director David Baker told KXAN. “It’s a crisis for our community and for our region.”
Jacob’s Well is roughly 35 miles southwest of downtown Austin.
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