Texas could be in the midst of a drought the history books have never seen, meaning water planners need to prepare for worse than what they've seen, state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said Thursday.
The current drought could last until 2020, because the region's climate is in the middle of a 20- to 40-year dry phase, Nielsen-Gammon said.
TAGD's 2011 Legislative Wrap-Up has been published in the Texas Water Journal. In addition to TAGD's summary, the journal includes legislative updates from Ken Kramer of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, Jason Skaggs of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Billy Howe of the Texas Farm Bureau, and Dean Robbins of the Texas Water Conservation Association. The issue also includes a peer-reviewed article about the statistical relations of precipitation and stream runoff for El Niño and La Niña periods by Raymond M. Slade Jr. and T. Edwin Chow.
To read the journal, go here.
For Immediate Release August 24, 2011
Contacts: Kirk Welch, North Plains Groundwater Conservation District 806-935-6401, Norman Martin, Texas Tech University 806-742-2808, Quenna Terry, NRCS 806-791-0581
A Texas Panhandle-High Plains conservation project has been awarded a federal grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The Texas High Plains Initiative for Strategic and Innovative Irrigation Management and Conservation (the Initiative) will receive a $499,848 Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to show farmers how to save irrigation water and extend the economic viability of their operations. The Initiative is designed to demonstrate strategic irrigation and crop system management technologies and practices, resulting in water savings across the region and best practices that are applicable nationwide in regions facing similar resource concerns.
The Initiative is a collaborative effort between the USDA-NRCS and North Plains Groundwater Conservation District, High Plains Underground Water Conservation District, Texas Alliance for Water Conservation (TAWC) and Texas Tech University. Until this joint application for funding, the member organizations of the Initiative were working on two separate irrigation efficiency demonstrations, the TAWC in Hale and Floyd counties in the south plains, and North Plains Groundwater Conservation District in the in the northern panhandle counties.
COLLEGE STATION, Aug. 4, 2011 – As Texas continues to bake in record heat, the drought news for the state continues to be bleak – Texas is now in the midst of its most severe one-year drought on record, according to John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist and professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University.
Preliminary reports from the National Climatic Data Center indicate that July 2011 was the warmest month ever recorded statewide for Texas, with data going back to 1895, Nielsen-Gammon reports. The average temperature of 87.2 degrees broke the previous record of 86.5 degrees set in 1998. The June average temperature of 85.2 was a record for that month and now ranks fifth warmest overall.
Midland Reporter-Telegram | Posted: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 5:15 pm
With Gov. Rick Perry signing into law legislation making Texas the first state to require disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, the Railroad Commission has begun the process of writing the rules for those disclosures.
The three railroad commissioners - Chairman Elizabeth Ames Jones, David Porter and Barry Smitherman, directed staff at the commission's July 11 conference to have a proposed rule ready by mid-August for a 30-day public comment period. Commissioners indicated they plan to hold a public hearing on the proposed rule in Austin during the public comment period, which will get underway when the rule is published in the Texas Register.
Chairman Jones said in a statement, "This rule will provide the additional assurance to the public that a common sense disclosure policy affords, and it will provide operators uniformity and reliability regarding the disclosure process for all wells that are hydraulically fractured in Texas. I hope we can have the rule ready for implementation before the end of the year." The rule, she said, is expected to formalize the best practices already expected by the commission and will codify "what is being done voluntarily by many companies."
From the Executive Summary: In 2009, the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) undertook a study of water use in the Texas mining industry, looking at current use and uses projected over the next 50 years. The study was commissioned by the TWDB and essentially prompted by the increase in shale gas production (using hydraulic fracturing) across the state. The report, issued in June 2011, estimates that the state used approximately 160 thousand acre-feet in the mining industry in 2008, including 35.8 thousand acre-feet for fracking wells. BEG also predicts that the state's overall mining and oil and gas water use will peak between 2020 and 2030 at approximately 305 thousand acre-feet.
The full report can be read here.
The Texas Legislative Reference Library has been recognized with two Notable Documents Awards by the National Conference of State Legislatures, Legislative Research Librarians staff section. 38 documents from 11 states were submitted for the award, with 13 receiving the honor. The awards will be presented at the 37th NCSL Legislative Summit in San Antonio, Texas, on Thursday, August 11.
Texas Legislators: Past & Present, recipient of the "Model Historical Database" award, contains biographical information, terms of service, and committee service of members of the Legislature back to the 15th Legislature (1876). The database can be searched by name, session, gender, chamber, party, leadership roles, committee membership, and home city and county.
Texas Water Law Timeline, one of two recipients of the "History of Legislation" award, presents a chronology of significant Texas water legislation, court decisions, and state water plans. You can click and drag on the timeline to view it horizontally, or choose a text version. It also includes a discussion of funding water infrastructure needs in Texas.
July 20, 2011 By: Blair Fannin
COLLEGE STATION – In Texas, you have either a checking or savings account when it comes to water reserves, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service program specialist.
Rural water well owners should be mindful of conservation and management so that either type of reserves don’t go dry during the ongoing drought, said Kristine Uhlman, who coordinates AgriLife Extension’s Texas Well Owner Network program.
The Texas drought has escalated into a significant natural disaster. Around the Panhandle, normally one of the most agriculturally productive regions of the state, acres of dry dirt fill would-be croplands. Lakes' levels are falling statewide. Cities are tightening water restrictions, amid the driest October-through-June stretch in Texas history.
So what can the government do to help those who are hit hardest?
Not much, at the state level, experts say.
Droughts are tricky to manage. Their effects vary significantly from place to place, so local authorities generally assume primary responsibility for drought management. Different counties or cities not only get different amounts of precipitation, but they also may draw from different sources of water, below the ground or in reservoirs or rivers.