37 Percent of Texas now in Extreme to Exceptional Drought – up 30% in 3 months
The U.S. Drought Monitor is reporting that All drought categories expanded across parts of Texas, resulting in Exceptional Drought covering virtually all of the Texas panhandle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports indicated that 78% of Texas and 72% of Oklahoma topsoil was short or very short of moisture.
The good, bad, and dried out realities of Texas’ water supply – A one year comparison of Texas Lake Levels
Rather than bore you with all the humdrum, we decided to let the graphic speak for itself.
Lake Conroe Reaches Full Pool Elevation for first time in 4 years
Lake Conroe is officially “full.” At approximately 11:30 A.M. on Tuesday, May 13th, the water elevation of Lake Conroe reached 201.00 feet above mean sea level. This is the first time that Lake Conroe has been at full pool elevation since April 25, 2010.
The following are a few key points regarding the Lake Conroe conditions:
- Measuring a moving, sloshing lake surface is difficult, so the actual reading will continue to fluctuate until the winds die down. In addition, we are experiencing a sustained north wind, so some of the reading is due to wave action and water being pushed up against the dam.
- There is still a lot of water draining from the watershed, so the lake will continue to rise for many hours, possibly even a few days.
- As of 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, May 13th, SJRA was not releasing any water from the gates. There is a small amount of spillage over the service outlet overflow, but it is minimal. Our philosophy with regard to releasing water is to hold off as long as possible and allow the lake to rise a little above 201 provided we stay within the parameters of our approved operating plan. We will continue to monitor the forecast and the rate of continued lake level rise to determine if and when we might need to let some water out. There is still additional rain in the forecast, which has to be taken into account.
- The last time water was released through the main gates due to being over 201 was March 21, 2010.
- During this rainfall event, rainfall totals across the Lake Conroe watershed ranged from 1.5 to 3.5 inches.
- The total measured rainfall at the Lake Conroe dam year-to-date is 12.7 inches. The “normal” year-to-date rainfall for this time of year is approximately 18.5 inches. Even though we are considerably behind for the year in terms of rainfall totals, the lake level continues to hold strong.
- As of 11:30AM on Wednesday May 14th SJRA has begun releasing 1060 Cubic feet per second (CFS)of water from Lake Conroe
Below is a graph showing the lake level over the last four years and an additional graph showing the lake level rise over the last week.
Texas Panhandle communities may run out of water in 90 days
Water: we drink it, we swim in it, we need it for every day life. But now state leaders are urging you to do more, conserve it.
“Overall, our average reservoir level is about 64% state-wide,” Texas Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples said. “But in the South Plains and in the Panhandle, it’s much worse in West Texas than it is in other parts of Texas. And that’s why we all need to do our part.”
The South Plains is under extreme drought conditions. And in the state, more than 85 percent is parched. Communities in danger of running out of water are those that get their water sources from dried up lakes. Lake Meredith and White River Lake are at 0 percent full. Lake J B Thomas is only at 1.1 percent. Many of these communities may run out of water in just 90 days.
“We are working on those solutions, there’s some options out there. But at the end of the day, it has become the real problem of the day. Talking about if it’s going to get here, it’s here,” State Representative Charles Perry said.
The Texas Water Smart Coalition is challenging Texans to step up their conservation efforts. Perry said if everyone saves just 20 gallons per day, it can add up big time.
“That adds up to almost 90 million gallons over the course of the year in Lubbock alone,” Perry said. “We use about 25 million gallons a day during the average. 10 percent is 2.5 million a day.”