Texas drying up, despite historic rainfall

AUSTIN (KXAN) – While Austin saw its wettest May in history, a 50-day dry streak this summer and below-normal rain is drying things up fast.

It’s what some meteorologists are calling a flash drought, because rather than developing gradually, it came quick.

“It’s always something to be kept in the back of your mind, to conserve,” said Justin Camp, a Hydrogeologic Technician. “To understand that this is Texas, and this is a land of perpetual drought.”

Camp checks drought monitor wells for the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District. Year-round he calculates the water levels underground. “The trend right now is a lot of things are lowering,” said Camp. “Between July and August, we didn’t get any rain.”

A tool he uses measures the water every hour. He checks each well about four times a year.

While the state is experiencing drought, the aquifers in Camp’s district are mostly full – for now. “They call drought the natural disaster in slow motion, and that really is what it is,” said John Dupnik, General Manager of the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District. “Because it takes time for these drying conditions to accumulate and for the reservoirs to feel the effects of the drying conditions, and ultimately for the ground water to feel those effects.”

But Dupnik says if we continue to stay dry, aquifer levels will continue to drop.

“Why we should care, is we rely on this for drinking water supply. Water is life, you have to have it.”

Dupnik says the time to conserve is now, and forever.

Current drought index Oct. 6, 2015

The latest National Drought Monitor shows nearly half the state is in moderate drought.

  • 48% of Texas is currently in drought conditions
    • 0% in mid-July
  • 25% of Texas is in severe drought
    • 0% mid-July
  • 10% of Texas is in extreme drought
    • 0% in mid-July

This is why conservationists continue to advise people to save water, despite the fuller lakes.

Amanda Brandeis takes a closer look at local impacts of the intensifying drought at 9 and 10 p.m.

 

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