What is in this article?:
- State Water Plan: Step in the right direction or political disaster?
- Critics of the bill warn that the proposed legislation supports water projects that can bring harm to the state’s rivers, streams and climate.
- The overall accumulated funding needed to support the 26 projects is estimated to be about $8 billion.
Water for agriculture irrigation is not a priority in Texas Water Plan.
Praying for rain
Climatologists have warned that Texas could be in the midst of a drought worse than the drought of record. In 2011, the months from March through May, and then June through August set records for low rainfall. The high temperatures over the summer months increased evaporation, further lowering river and lake levels.
The year 2011 was the driest year in Texas with an average of less than 15 inches of rain. The only comparable drought occurred during the 1950s, but no single year during that drought was as dry as 2011. The current drought began in October, 2010, and continued through 2011. Though conditions improved in the winter and spring of 2012, by late in the year dry conditions had returned.
As of late January this year, 90 percent of Texas is in some form of drought and the state’s reservoirs are only 65 percent full. Nearly 7 percent of the state is in “exceptional” drought.
Climatologists also warn that periods of sustained drought have a much greater effect on the state than most realize. In addition to water shortages for human, industrial and agricultural use, floral and fauna of the affected drought area suffers greatly. High reductions in wildlife are possible as a result of a lack of drinking water. In addition, millions of native trees will be destroyed by serious drought, never to recover.
While no one wants to hear of a potential negative forecast or measurable rain, meteorologists are warning that if unpredictable summer rains fail to develop and a La Niña weather pattern returns in the fall of 2013, it could result in dire conditions for Texas and the greater Southwest.
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