Impacts of Urban Growth Upon Aquifer Recharge: A Case Study of the Barton Springs Aquifer




Pasley, Nathaniel

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Over the last 30 years, Austin, TX has experienced extremely high population growth. As the city expands to accommodate new residents, the surrounding natural environment is at risk of degradation. The Edwards Aquifer is a karst aquifer system that supplies drinking water to nearly two million people throughout central Texas but is highly vulnerable to changes at the land surface. In 1992, the Save Our Springs Ordinance was passed to prevent degradation to water quality and quantity in the Edwards by limiting urban development in zones contributing to Barton Springs Pool in central Austin. This research applies a scenario-based Cellular Automata urban growth model coupled with a soil-water balance model to examine future urban growth patterns and the resulting impacts to aquifer recharge in the Barton Springs Zone of the Edwards Aquifer. It seeks to contribute sound scientific information regarding optimal limits to urban development that facilitate sustainable growth that can be used to guide future urban planning initiatives in Austin.



urbanization, aquifer recharge, SLEUTH, soil-water balance, GIS, remote sensing


Pasley, N. K. (2022). Impacts of urban growth upon aquifer recharge: A case study of the Barton Springs Aquifer (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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