99 percent of Texas counties are in drought according to the Texas Water Development Board. What does this mean for Texas Agriculture. Last year 12 billion dollars were paid out in federal crop insurance across the country, but we have a record planting of corn this year. And there is no garauntee that an early fall won't wipe that planting out.
The Edwards Aquifer has slipped below the trigger point for Stage Three water restrictions in both San Antonio and New Braunfels. One city has decided to take action, while the other will wait it out.
The Aquifer hit 639 feet today, setting the ball rolling for every other week watering, at least for San Antonio and New Braunfels. New Braunfels Mayor Gale Pospisil issued a declaration stating Stage Three would begin on Monday. Utility Spokeswoman Gretchen Reuwer says the first week of no watering will be August 19th.
Governor Perry has declared a large majority of Texas (200 counties) in a state of emergency related to drought. Meanwhile, the state’s Agriculture Commissioner, Todd Staples, says a new online website can help ranchers, farmers and even homeowners track their water usage.
“We know there are decisions that communities and individuals are having to make everyday," Staples says, "and providing a one stop online portal we hope will ease the decisions and give information readily available.”
Members of Environment Texas gathered in front of the Governor’s Mansion to urge Gov. Rick Perry to sign into law two bills that address residential water conservation efforts.
"The first, Senate Bill 198, would prohibit homeowner's associations from preventing their members from installing drought-resistant landscaping or xeriscapes. We heard a number of cases of HOAs preventing people from changing their own property to be more drought tolerant," said Environment Texas Executive Director Luke Metzger.
Gov. Rick Perry has signed into law bill providing $2 billion for water-related projects . The bill provides the funding for the next 50 years of water-projects.
"It should help supply our water supply for generations, even though we are expecting rapid population increases and economic growth. Water is an essential part of everyone’s life, it is ensuring that those adequate supplies are available, means better jobs, it means stronger communities, it means healthier families," Perry said.
National forecasters are predicting another hotter-than-normal summer. That could mean more of the rolling blackouts likes those San Antonio experienced in 2011.
Climatologists predict temperatures will be above normal this year and the power grid may not be able to keep up. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation projects the Texas grid will have the lowest percentage of power reserves this summer of any region in the country.
The problem is rapidly-growing demand combined with a lack of new power plants being built.
Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 12:36 pm
Hays County is looking for alternative groundwater supplies. An open Request for Proposals seeks to pipe in water from aquifers that could be tapped to supplement water from the Edwards and Trinity aquifers.
County Commissioner Ray Whisenant (R-Precinct 4) says the existing supply of water appears to be unsustainable with the county's current growth rate.