What is in this article?:
- Rainfall offers hope and short-term relief
- AgriLife Update
Some areas of the Texas Panhandle, for instance, recorded 6 to 8 inches. Other farms received much less with some reporting fields that remain dry.
As drought along with other issues put pressure on existing water reservoirs, municipalities are scrambling to upgrade facilities and supplies, such as this 46 miles of 7-foot and 8-foot diameter pipeline the North Texas Municipal Water District laid from Lake Texoma to Wylie water conditioning facilities.
Robert Burns, Texas AgriLife media specialist, reports in his weekly weather and crops update that drought may be far from gone, but has been pushed back in the last two weeks.
He writes that the National Weather Service precipitation analysis shows all areas but extreme South Texas and Far West Texas received from 1 inch to 6 inches or more of rain in the past two weeks.
About half the state remains in severe to exceptional drought, according the U.S. Drought Monitor report of May 29, but the percentage under exceptional drought conditions dropped from 25 percent to about 11 percent since May 20. Extreme drought percentages dropped about 8 percent.
Guy Fipps, AgriLife Extension irrigation engineer, College Station, agrees that reservoir levels remain a concern. “In the watersheds where we have the most critical shortages, such as the Colorado River, we didn’t get much relief,” Fipps said. “In the last weather pattern, the counties that got the heaviest rains are closer to the Gulf. Unfortunately, in those areas the runoff doesn’t go to any major reservoirs. Most of the reservoirs depend on rainfall in West Texas, the Hill Country or Northwest Texas.”
According to the Texas Water Development Board, the state’s reservoirs, taken as a whole, are about 67 percent full. But many large reservoirs east of Interstate 45 are 80 percent to 100 percent of capacity. West of I-45, most reservoirs are nearly empty or at critically low levels.
It’s unlikely they will see relief anytime soon, Fipps said.
“We’re getting into our summer weather pattern now,” he added. “In the summertime, we generally don’t get widespread, slow, soaking rains that contribute to reservoirs. We tend to get more spotty stuff and brief thunderstorms.”