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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Texas is growing fast. We need to protect our water.

Texas is growing fast. We need to protect our water.

Texas is one of the fastest growing states in the country. But a downside of this growth is that, coupled with extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, many of our existing water resources are becoming overburdened. If trends continue, our water supply will be significantly reduced over the next 50 years, and everything we love about the Lone Star State will start to disappear: the economy, recreation, our way of life. According to the 2017 State Water Plan,…

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Well’s gone dry: aquifers taking a hit during the drought

Well’s gone dry: aquifers taking a hit during the drought

“It’s not out of the ordinary to have wells drop in a severe drought like this, when there is a really terrific shortage of groundwater,” said John Fisher, a Bell County commissioner, who lives in southern Bell County near the Williamson County line. As of July 10, most of Williamson County is classified as abnormally dry, with a portion in the northern part of the county in a moderate drought, according to the drought report and map released every Tuesday…

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Hoping to raise water awareness, state returns to a famous ad man

Hoping to raise water awareness, state returns to a famous ad man

An Austin advertising legend who once helped sell “Don’t mess with Texas” is now working with state officials on a sequel: a campaign to get Texans to cherish water, from their lakes to their sinks. Roy Spence, one of the founders of ad giant GSD&M, is partnering with Texas State University’s Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and the Texas Water Development Board on the project, which is still in its early stages….read more at Austin-American Statesman. 

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River Revival: Restoring a once-vital waterway with recycled wastewater

River Revival: Restoring a once-vital waterway with recycled wastewater

The Santa Cruz River once flowed year-round in Tucson, AZ, supporting one of the largest mesquite forests in the world.  But urban development and extensive groundwater withdrawals in recent years caused the river’s volume to dwindle. Today, city administrators hope to use recycled effluent to restore the river’s flow to historic levels and revive riparian habitats… Read more from the Forester Daily News.

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Austin’s on the wrong side of the 100th meridian

Austin’s on the wrong side of the 100th meridian

The invisible line that divides the arid western part of the country from the wetter eastern half is on the move, and that has important implications for the Texas capital. Meet Robert Lee. Not the Confederate general, the town. Robert Lee, Texas is a ranching community of 1,025 that lost its only source of water to the second-worst drought in recorded state history. By August 2011, Lake E.V. Spence, a praying-mantis-shaped, man-made reservoir once revered for its striped bass fishing,…

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San Marcos Urges Water Conservation As Aquifer Level Falls

San Marcos Urges Water Conservation As Aquifer Level Falls

The City of San Marcos is urging water conservation because of rapidly dropping aquifer levels and the prospect of Stage 2 drought rules quickly approaching. Stage 2 is implemented when the 10-day average Edwards Aquifer index well level falls below 650 feet above mean sea level (msl). Monitoring wells indicate the aquifer level is dropping about one foot per day. “We’re starting summer with above average temperatures and below average rainfall, with few prospects for any rain in the coming…

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In a Warming West, the Rio Grande Is Drying Up

In a Warming West, the Rio Grande Is Drying Up

Mario Rosales, who farms 365 acres along the Rio Grande, knows the river is in bad shape this year. It has already dried to a dusty ribbon of sand in some parts, and most of the water that does flow is diverted to irrigate crops, including Mr. Rosales’s fields of wheat, oats, alfalfa and New Mexico’s beloved chiles. Because last winter’s mountain snowpack was the second-lowest on record, even that irrigation water may run out at the end of July,…

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What happens to Texas when water is more valuable than oil?

What happens to Texas when water is more valuable than oil?

Only a state as big as Texas could have to deal with the simultaneous crises of both rampant floods and devastating drought. The destruction of Hurricane Harvey and the massive infrastructure needs that it exposed along the Gulf Coast soaked up most of our attention recently, but vast swaths of the Texas Panhandle suffer from extreme drought, and the northern tip qualifies for the worst possible category: exceptional drought. The problems our state is having with water — too much…

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