The splash of recent rains in the Central Texas area was a welcome respite, but did it have any impact on the enduring drought?
In a recent article in the Austin American-Statesman, Bob Rose, meteorologist with the LCRA had this to say:
“Overall drought conditions have really improved because of the rain. The rain has recharged much of the soil moisture, vegetation is really responding, creek and streams have been flowing and fire danger has decreased. The last thing to recover is lake levels.”
Although Austin has received near average rainfall amounts over the last two years it has still not adequately replenished the lakes and areas where it is most needed. The highland lakes are approaching historic lows, and the LCRA is nearing a decision to declare the current drought the worst in recorded history. Two of the three criteria necessary for the LCRA board to make the declaration have been fulfilled. If the combined storage of Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan falls below the 30% mark, the third criterion will met. Current conditions are dangerously close to that number and according to forecasts from the LCRA, levels will drop below 31% in November.
Water planners are urging the Austin City Council to prepare for the worst. The Austin American-Statesman reports that Austin Water Utility Director Greg Meszaros recently delivered this dire warning to members of the city council:
“This is not your father’s drought, this is not even your grandfather’s drought,” Austin Water Utility Director Greg Meszaros told the City Council. “This is, in my opinion, the worst drought we’ve faced in Central Texas, ever.”
With the historic drought conditions of recent years and the surge in population, the need for improved water resource management and infrastructure in Texas is self-evident. It is estimated that the population of Texas will double in the next 40 years. With a booming economy and energy production sector, Texas cannot afford to fall short on water supplies. The Texas State Water Fund Amendment (Proposition 6), sponsored by Republican State Senator Tommy Williams, is a proposed amendment to the Texas constitution. The amendment is up for vote on November 5, 2013. If passed, it will draw $2.0 billion from the Texas Economic Stabilization Fund, also referred to as the Rainy Day Fund. The money would be allocated to finance high-priority water projects, in an effort to secure much needed long-term water resources.
According to Texas Future, “The State Water Plan encompasses over 4,500 projects with a range of strategies including reuse, conservation, new reservoirs, development of new groundwater supplies, desalination, and more. Without new supplies, another major drought could be devastating to Texas’ economy and jobs.”
Want to know more about Proposition 6? Learn the facts and get involved here.
Program Manager – Aerials and Historical Mapping