Texas’ Drought Prompts Calls for Water Management Improvements

A recent article details the rapid growth, evaporating surface storage capacity, and manicured lawns worsening drought conditions in Texas (no, not California).
April 14, 2014, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Writing for Next City, Sara Goodyear details the facts and figures behind the under-reported story of Texas’ drought—which is approaching catastrophic levels in some parts of the state. “The drought map for the state of Texas from April 8 of this year isn’t pretty. As of the end of March, 67 percent of the state — up from 46 percent four months ago — suffered from moderate or worse drought conditions, according to the Texas Water Development Board. Twenty-five percent of the state is in ‘extreme’ drought or worse, and rainfall has been scant over the last 90 days.”

The drought has reduced levels at some of the reservoirs in the state to less than ten percent capacity. Adds Goodyear: “Not only the reservoirs are drying up. Groundwater levels are also on a downward trajectory in many parts of the state, as are stream flows — although reservoirs are particularly vulnerable because of evaporation.”

In an effort to be proactive about the drought, voters recent authorized $2 billion in water-related infrastructure spending to deal with the drought. But critics say the spending will neglect fundamental problems with the state’s management of its water supply. The first project to come online of the drought, for instance, is a surface storage facility that will send water to a suburb of the notoriously water inefficient Dallas.

Given the state’s quick population growth, Goodyear expresses concern that “the conflict between rural and urban water interests is bound to intensify if the drought continues.”

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Published on Monday, April 14, 2014 in Next City
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