The next megadrought in the American Southwest may be right around the corner

The next megadrought in the American Southwest may be right around the corner

IF THE PLANET CONTINUES TO WARM AT CURRENT RATES, SCIENTISTS PROJECT THE LIKELIHOOD OF A MEGADROUGHT IN THE SOUTHWEST WILL INCREASE TO ABOVE 70 PERCENT. WE’RE SIMPLY NOT PREPARED. “This is absolutely abysmal,” David Gutzler said in March 2018, speaking to an auditorium full of US and Mexican water engineers and hydrologists in El Paso, Texas. He was talking about the state of the snow in Colorado at the time, the snow that would melt and feed the Rio Grande…

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Ensuring One Water delivers for healthy waterways

Ensuring One Water delivers for healthy waterways

Texas Living Waters is an active advocate for the One Water approach because it offers tremendous opportunities for improving how water is managed. Even so, we are concerned that the available One Water implementation frameworks are not providing adequate guidance or methodologies for ensuring that implementation of One Water principles will result in actual on-the-ground benefits in achieving “healthy waterways,” which is a key component of the One Water approach. There often seems to be an assumption that implementing a One Water…

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Building a water-resilient future for all Texans

Building a water-resilient future for all Texans

After heavy rains last winter and early this summer, Texas is seeing a rapid return to hot, bone-dry conditions. While we watch our lawns brown and wait for the rains to return, the age-old question echoes again, “Does fast-growing Texas, which is adding 1,000 new residents every day, have enough water to weather future prolonged droughts?” Without more efficient water practices and broader uptake of water reuse technologies, the answer could well be, ’No.″ And that could mean a ruinous…

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‘Endless source of water’: Texas man plans to take machine to Bahamas to aid recovery

‘Endless source of water’: Texas man plans to take machine to Bahamas to aid recovery

Families in Flint, Mich., still dealing with lead in their pipes have a continuous source of clean, free water thanks to a Texas man who developed a machine to pull water from the air. Now, Moses West wants to take that machine to the Bahamas to aid in recovery after Hurricane Dorian ravaged the islands. “This is a long-term recovery for the people there, and one of the stresses that they do not need to have is a lack of…

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Watering limits loom as aquifer drops amid heat

Watering limits loom as aquifer drops amid heat

So far, the San Antonio area has escaped outdoor watering restrictions this summer, but that could change next month. In the past several weeks, the Edwards Aquifer has dropped sharply and is approaching the level that triggers the first stage of cutbacks. July and August have been extraordinarily hot and dry, like a “flash drought,” said Karen Guz, the San Antonio Water System’s conservation director. There’s been less than a half-inch of rain here since June 30. For the year,…

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Water wars pit rural and urban Texas against each other

Water wars pit rural and urban Texas against each other

You know you’re getting close to Harrold Witcher’s place when you pass the water tower in Carson, a community of 22 people in northeast Texas just south of the Oklahoma border. A mere 20 minutes from the Red River, this is a part of the state that’s predicated on precipitation. Folks here can count on Bois d’Arc Creek to flood several county roads at least once a year, and a chief source of recreation is fishing in one of several…

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Hill Country caves reveal secrets to the biology of cave-dwelling animals

Hill Country caves reveal secrets to the biology of cave-dwelling animals

Along U.S. Highway 281 headed north to the Comal County line, drivers can see shopping centers and housing developments that look indistinguishable from suburbia elsewhere in the country. But hundreds of feet below the highway, inside the Edwards Aquifer and some local caves, new species of salamanders, crustaceans, and other creatures are being discovered. Animals that live inside the Edwards aquifer include two species of blind catfishes. A recent report also documents the discovery of several species of crustaceans (shrimp-like…

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Scientists have big hopes for Uvalde Pool study

Scientists have big hopes for Uvalde Pool study

Ron Green, a scientist at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, and his team of hydro-geologists are busy collecting data on and creating a lumped parameter model for the Uvalde Pool, a major reservoir of underground water centered over central Uvalde County and part of the Edwards Aquifer. Though the project is relatively new, Green said their research in Uvalde has been ongoing for over 20 years. “For over 20-plus years, we’ve been trying to quantify how much water goes…

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Texas struggles to keep pace as thirst for water intensifies

Texas struggles to keep pace as thirst for water intensifies

DALLAS (AP) — About 1,000 people arrive in Texas each day, drawn by jobs, newly built homes and other opportunities. But in a state where prolonged drought is a regular occurrence, officials are struggling to ensure they can sate everyone’s thirst. Water experts are trying to determine how “resilient” the state’s water infrastructure is in keeping safe drinking water flowing through the taps. There are indications that the system is more fragile than once thought: After Hurricane Harvey in 2017, more than…

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Could a tug-of-war between two Central Texas counties leave residents without drinking water?

Could a tug-of-war between two Central Texas counties leave residents without drinking water?

Dirk Aaron’s timing was terrible. He took over management of Bell County’s Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District in the summer of 2011, which the National Weather Service regards as the driest year in Texas history. What made the drought particularly difficult was that the less it rained, the more groundwater people pumped. When Mother Nature isn’t watering your yard or your farm, you have to do it yourself. That dynamic played hell with the resources Aaron had been hired to…

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