“Wellntel gives us a measuring point where we can raise the red flag that we can say we have to do something.”Larry Hull, President of the Board of the Comal Trinity Groundwater Conservation District
Larry Hull views water issues facing Texas in the way he thinks about his history serving in war.
In the 1960s, he didn’t give too much thought to the ongoing conflict in Vietnam –– until he started fighting on the front lines. Then, suddenly, the war and the immediate threats became very real.
“I look at water the same way,” he says. “As long as you turn on the faucet and water comes out, it’s not a crisis. If you turn it on and no water comes out, suddenly it’s a crisis.”
Today, Hull is the President of the Board of the Comal Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, one of the front lines in urgent efforts to improve water conservation.
The mission of the district is to “maintain the Hill Country way of life by conserving, protecting, and preserving our Trinity groundwater resources” in one of the fastest growing counties in the nation.
With Wellntel, Hull is working toward a comprehensive understanding of water trends and usage in the area. His charge is to monitor the water supply in his Central Texas district, and help prevent changes from becoming a crisis.
“There’s not an endless supply of water,” Hull said. “Wellntel gives us a measuring point where we can raise the red flag that we can say we have to do something.”
Fortunately, by partnering with Wellntell, Hull has everything he needs to collect data, analyze it and organize and share it with his stakeholders, and his team can focus on rapid, simple deployments, the highest data quality and greatest quantity and process efficiency leading to action.
The goal? Use key Wellntel data to educate, plan and keep the water coming out of the faucet.
Beyond the Drought
Hull is a native Texan who lives on a ranch, and over the decades has seen changes in water levels reflected in waterways and groundwater wells. He’s seen the natural springs disappear and shrink his neighboring Guadalupe River.
“I farm and ranch so I depend on the water,” Hull said. “Sometimes it’s like a desert here.”
He remembers as a kid in the 1950s living through a drought that was “devastating.” Most people in the area had to drill wells deeper to find water. At the time, the ranch where he lived had a well that ran about 80-100 feet deep. Today, that same well goes about 280 feet down for a water level that starts about 100 feet below the surface.
But as Hull notes, digging deeper is not a long-term strategy, as aquifers are “not a bottomless pit.”
“We’ve never fully recovered from that drought,” he said. “If we have another drought like that, it’s going to be tough.”
That’s where monitoring from Wellntel comes in to help prevent disaster.
“We can appeal to people in the county if we have a well that has dropped,” he said. “So if you’re on a water well we can help manage conservation practices. Wellntel provides documented evidence and communicates in English instead of scientific jargon about water consumption.”
Currently, Hull has about 10 sensors installed throughout Comal County with the goal of adding about 12-15 more. Having strategically-placed Wellntel sensors shows how water levels fluctuate over time, and what factors may be affecting the wells.
Wellntel data shows that the water level in some wells may stay stable while others can fluctuate 40-50 feet in a short amount of time. As a next step, Wellntel data can help provide clues for what conditions are impacting output.
For example, the ground conditions can affect how quickly an aquifer fills up with water. In some cases, the recovery of water level in a well can be the result of rain storms from weeks, months or even years ago.
“We can use that to show people how the aquifer is so fragile and reacts to changes,” Hull said. “It gives us a way to show people how water conditions are doing.”
Flowing into the Future
Hull and Comal Trinity Groundwater Conservation District are required by state law to report water levels to the Texas Water Development Board, which maintains a centralized data repository for all the water information in Texas. This requirement is what initially spurred Hull to look for monitoring solutions, which led him to Wellntel.
“The product has done what Wellntel has said it would do, and the staff support has been superb,” Hull said. “The system is user friendly and they’ve had great improvements in their dashboards.”
Beyond the need for statewide reporting, Hull sees Wellntel as impactful for any property owner or business that relies on water. Hull is a former telephone company operations executive, and as a result throughout his career he’s seen the need for systems thinking and long-term planning management.
Using that logic with Wellntel, he can help head off a disaster before it becomes an emergency.
“I know people are beginning to pay attention,” Hull said.
With Wellntel, Hull can get more work done: More science and more reporting with less risk at a lower cost and greater impact, even when resources are limited.
“Living on a ranch, the worst fear is someone comes and says, ‘Larry, there’s no water!’” he said. “With Wellntel, I can see our level ahead of time.”
Wellntel will help you dramatically expand and simplify measurement and reporting of the water resource and ultimately, its sustainable management. Request a quote today.