Rainfall has helped ease Texas drought conditions but the water-supply drought continues to concern Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) officials.

The El Paso area is now considered “no longer in drought,” according to the latest report from TWDB. “But Elephant Butte Reservoir, a major source of water for the area, is less than 9 percent full.”

Drought conditions are expected to end for East, Central and parts of South Central Texas by late January, 2014, based on the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook. Drought is expected to linger in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and West Texas and to redevelop in Far West Texas.

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The latest report indicated 91 percent of the state remains in drought status; that’s down from 93 percent last week and off from 99 percent three months ago. Last year at this time, 83 percent of the state was considered in drought status.

Conditions have improved significantly since 2010 with the three most severe drought categories now at their lowest percentages in more than two years. “However, most of the state is still in some stage of drought, and we’ve got a long way to go before we.re out of drought entirely.”

TWDB also announces a new drought Web site as part of its Water Data for Texas Web site. This site brings together relevant resources, links, data and analyses to provide a one-stop shop for drought information. It consolidates, updates and replaces drought-related pages on the main TWDB website and provides easy access to Texas-specific versions of historical and current information from commonly used datasets that measure drought (17 datasets are currently available). The website automatically downloads or calculates drought-related information from national, state and TWDB datasets on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, depending on the dataset.

Archives of TWDB's Legislative Drought Updates that were previously not available online are now available.

Also of interest:

Rainfall improves drought status

Recent rainfall aids winter crops

Texas faces water shortage without water plan