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Cooler Weather Doesn’t Mean Drought Relief

Photo by littlemoresunshine
The cracked ground at Boquillas Canyon Trail at Big Bend National Park in October. Ninety percent of Texas is still in drought, according to the US Drought Monitor.

When the temperatures drop and the skies become overcast, it might be easy to forget that we are still in the worst single-year drought in Texas history. But as the Lower Colorado River Authority points out, the cooler weather should not be mistaken for drought relief.

Lakes Travis and Buchanan, our region’s water supply reservoirs, are 37 percent full. Lake Travis is 41 feet below its monthly average. Lake Buchanan is 23 feet lower than its average, causing a piece of land normally underwater to become visible.

Not only is “Sometimes Island” in plain view, the Statesman reports, but for the first time since the 60’s, you don’t even need a boat to get to it.

Meanwhile, tighter watering restrictions take effect in Round Rock today that allow people to water their lawns and gardens only once a week: odd-numbered addresses on Saturdays and even-numbered addresses on Sundays, and not between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

People who ignore the restrictions can be fined up to $2,000. Repeat offenders could have their water shut off.

The Houston Chronicle launched a series today on the uncertain future for Texas’ water supply, pointing out that one plan designed to meet demand for the next 50 years would cost a staggering $53 billion.

But environmentalists are pointing to San Antonio as an example for other Texas cities. Ken Kramer with the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter told the Chronicle that San Antonio doesn’t pump anymore water today than it did 20 years ago, because it has focused on conservation.

And while it’s probably not enough to help out drought-afflicted butterflies, a storm system is expected to move across Central Texas tonight, bringing up to two inches of rain.  

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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