Jacob’s Well, Texas swimming spots struggle amid ongoing drought

Texas is continuing to battle a drought that has affected many popular swimming spots. Some iconic swim spots in the Hill Country are really feeling the heat with more than a few being forced to turn away swimmers due to low water levels.

The reason those guests are getting turned away from the swimming holes is because the drought is dissolving the water. So, even if you do go to one of these parks, swimming isn’t an option for recreation anymore.

Two Hays County parks that are reeling from this drought are Jacob’s Well Natural Area and 5 Mile Dam Park.

“Both of these sites have been severely impacted by drought. 5 Mile Dam Park, on the Blanco River, has not seen a continuous flow for over a year. Jacob’s Well outflow has been much lower than average as well,” said Hays County Parks Education Coordinator Katherine Sturdivant to MySA.

Jacob’s Well Natural Area is not allowing anyone to swim for the “foreseeable future” and 5 Mile Dam Park is reportedly “not very fit for swimming.”

In 2022, Jacob’s Well saw many reservations made, but refunds were issued after the low water out flow. This year, the option to make a swim reservation isn’t even available. Sturdivant added that thid could change if the parks department is “certain we can allow swimmers.” The parks are both still open to hikers and visitors, but people looking to get a refreshing dip are out of luck.

Jacob's Well Natural Area is suffering from the current drought.

Jacob’s Well Natural Area is suffering from the current drought.

Photo Courtesy of Katherine Sturdivant

Hill Country swim spots

Neighboring Comal County owned boat ramps at Canyon Lake currently open are Ramp No. 1 and No. 6, said Comal County Public Information Officer Cary Zayas to MySA in an email.

The current water level at Canyon Lake is 897.56 feet, as reported by the Comal County Engineer’s Office website. Ramps listed as closed on the website are No. 2, 5, 7, 8, 11, 22, and 23. 

In Kendall County, Boerne City Lake has felt the effects of the ongoing drought. Boerne Communications Director Chris Shadrock said Boerne City Lake is currently about eight feet below a full pool of 42 feet. He added that the city doesn’t plan to close the lake anytime soon, but the city encourages swimmers to be safe and refrain from jumping into the water because it can be hard to determine the depth of the lake.

Medina Lake County Park is closed due to low water levels and will stay closed until water levels increase, according to the Bandera County website.

A Texas-sized drought hitting the area

The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) website states Bandera, Blanco, Bexar, Comal, Gillespie, Hays, Kerr, and Medina counties are all in the “exceptional drought” category. Kendall County is the only county in Texas that is fully covered in the category.

Areas under the exceptional drought category, has reported widespread crop loss, dead rangeland, producers aren’t planting fields, seafood, forestry, tourism, and agricultural sectors reported financial loss and extreme sensitivity to fire danger, according to the USDM website.

Here are a few areas where you can swim

  • Hamilton Pool Reserve.
  • Blue Hole Regional Park.
  • Krause Springs.
  • Boerne City Lake.
  • Canyon Lake.

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