But water shortages can turn a comfortable and profitable experience into a nightmare. On the Texas side, residents are wondering why water restrictions are causing their lawns to suffer and in some cases die while industrial and commercial water users, like golf courses and swimming pools, remain green and open; some are asking why irrigation districts are providing farms and industry with water when communities are running low on natural resources. 

In the Valley, the water shortage is stirring up a great deal of emotion and creating hardships for some residents while becoming the hot topic item for community leaders and local lawmakers. And the situation is getting more critical. Communities are being told the water crisis could force city water departments to run out of water before summer's end. Businesses and residents are already limited to hours of use, and most find themselves at various stages of ever-changing local water conversation initiatives.

And it is not just South Texas cities and residents that are being affected by the water emergency. Perhaps hardest hit are agricultural interests—farmers, ranchers, and citrus growers.

Drought conditions from last season were still prevalent at planting time for the Valley's cotton, corn, grain sorghum, sugar and vegetable crops this last winter, preventing many farmers from even attempting to put seed into the parched ground. Crops normally planted on dryland fields are practically non-existent in parts of South Texas, and even many irrigated fields are short of the necessary water to bring a healthy crop to harvest.

According to an economic impact analysis released last week—initiated by Texas AgriLife officials as a direct result of the water crisis—irrigation shortages in the Valley could roll up nearly $400 million in crop and livestock losses this year and could cut nearly 5,000 jobs from the local economy, a devastating development.

Water concerns are building as summer days grow warmer every week. Rain showers have failed to provide any real relief, so water concerns continue to grow in Deep South Texas. There has even been talk about acts of civil disobedience such as blocking international bridges in hopes of bringing attention to the escalating water crisis.


Watch for PART II: South Texas water crisis is drawing a line in the sand


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