The San Marcos River in Extreme Drought

todayJune 16, 2023 171 1 3

share close

By Danielle De Lucia

News Reporter

The San Marcos River has been in drought for three years. The rainy season has passed in central Texas, and the river still has not made up for the water loss.

Those caring for the river have not seen levels this low in about 20 years. Virginia Parker, executive director of the San Marcos River Foundation explained how the San Marcos River should be at the average level of 196 cfs and it is currently averaging 84 cfs.

Such low river levels are due to the scarcity of rainfall in Texas. In September 2021, the state was declared to be in a drought, and climate patterns contribute. Also, “the primary reason for the low flow rates in the river is that we have been getting less recharge in the Edwards Aquifer creating less discharge into the San Marcos River,” said Mark Enders, the Habitat Conservation plan manager for San Marcos Park and Recreation.

Parts of the recharge zone for Edwards Aquifer are blocked by new construction and residential development. A domino effect is created by the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer becoming less accessible. There is a decreased amount of flow into the Edwards Aquifer causing less water flown into the San Marcos River. Both rivers require as much water as possible, especially the Edwards Aquifer for the San Antonio area, “the river feeds over two million people drinking water,” said Parker.

The San Marcos drought affects the species that occupy the land and those that enjoy activities such as kayaking, snorkeling or canoeing. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department reports these species living by the river as endangered: Fountain Darter, San Marcos Salamander and Texas Blind Salamander.

The Texas Water Safari holds some of the “world’s toughest canoe races” on the river. The race is more difficult and dangerous with the low energy flowing from lack of water. “Those that are in the race are out for much longer and that creates more opportunities for issues to occur,” said Parker.

The solution for pumping water from somewhere else into the San Marcos River will not completely fix the issue. The flip side of doing that is other people’s water supply, usually from wells, can dry up. Overall, water pumped from somewhere else is a temporary fix that disadvantages those in that area that need the water.

Some ways the community can help with the issue of low river levels in San Marcos are simple. These techniques can be put to use even when there is no drought. First, conserve water by taking faster showers. Most importantly be aware of not wasting water when doing daily activities like brushing your teeth and washing dishes. Second, if deciding to have a garden be mindful to buy plants that do not require a lot of water. Some native plant species for central Texas are Turk’s Cap, American Beautyberry, Rock Rose and succulents. Third, create rain gardens or bioswales to control when erosion happens. Lastly, get involved at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.

If interested in volunteering to support habitat restoration efforts on the San Marcos River, contact Collin Garoutte at (512) 245-3553, or email


Written by: Preethi Mangadu

Rate it

Post comments (1)

Leave a Reply

  1. Trish Olivo on June 16, 2023

    We have been told for years that water was going to be in short supply and we should stop the incessant building that is going on. How can the people stop it when it’s the city planners who keep bringing in more and more buildings. It’s sad that there isn’t a postage size area of land that they aren’t trying to build on it. So you tell me where does it end. Not good for the people only the city coffers

top Tracks

Team Members


  • Chart track


    Just The Once [Single]


  • Chart track


    The Window

    Rat Boys

  • Chart track


    It's Time [Single]

    Truth Club

  • Chart track




  • Chart track


    What's Your Motive

    The Hails

Full tracklist

%d bloggers like this: