Comanche Springs Restoration
Once the sixth largest spring in Texas, Comanche Springs was, for centuries, a true water oasis and treasure. The springs, fed by the Edwards-Trinity Aquifer, provided a water supply to native populations, early settlers, and downstream irrigators and supported a small but important desert ecosystem.
Yet, the springs were not immune to the effects of a growing state. Significant groundwater pumping upstream caused Comanche Springs to quit its flow in the 1960s. Over the last decade, however, the once-quiet springs have begun flowing again in the late winter months, when the aquifer has rebounded from summer irrigation pumping, bringing with it hope for a new, flowing future.
The Meadows Center and Texas Water Trade teamed up to uncover what it would take to restore perennial flow at the springs through voluntary, market-based cooperation of groundwater owners in the Comanche Springs contributing and recharge zones.
While there have been a number of hydrogeologic studies on Comanche Springs over the past 70 years, none have fully assembled the history of the flow system nor have they evaluated the policy and economics behind bringing back year-round flow. Results from the study will inform the development of the first roadmap to restoring spring flows, taking an in-depth look into the historical, hydrogeologic, policy, and economics of restoring year-round flow to Comanche Springs.
The research was funded by the Fort Stockton Visitors Bureau, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation.
- Comanche Springs Reawakening (talk+water podcast with Robert Mace & Sharlene Leurig) - February 2020
- Let It Flow: The Return of Comanche Springs (Texas Highways Magazine) - January 2020
- Bringing Back Comanche Springs: Capitalizing The World’s First Spring Restoration Market (White Paper) - September 2019
- Texas Water Trade Project Webpage
Robert Mace, Ph.D., P.G.
Executive Director & Chief Water Policy Officer
Professor of Practice, Department of Geography
Funding for the study was provided by the Fort Stockton Visitors Bureau, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation.