Drought Causes Tubing Troubles
The drought is wreaking havoc on a Central Texas summer tradition: tubing. But what happens when the beer flows freely and the river does not?
If you go tubing in New Braunfels, you basically have two choices: the Comal River or the Guadalupe River. But the Guadalupe River, which is normally the more exciting ride with more rapids, is now extremely low. Ismail Camacho was there last week, and he didn’t make it very far.
“We went like 200 meters and then we came back,” Camacho said. “It was too slow.”
It’s so slow that most people have been going to the Comal River instead, because it has more water. It’s also running more slowly. But now the crowds are larger, and it takes people twice as long to complete their tubing route. That means a lot of people are drinking twice as much beer, and getting twice as drunk. New Braunfels Mayor Gale Pospisil said that has caused some problems.
“Lewd language and lewd behavior and trespassing on other people’s property, and using other people’s property as their restroom facilities, and being loud, and just all the things that you would expect when you have a very large crowd with quite a few people who have had a little too much alcohol,” Pospisil told KUT.
She said New Braunfels police have made way more arrests than usual this year. A few weeks ago they broke out pepper spray and Tasers to control some rowdy tubers.
This long weekend, police are planning on controlling access at Prince Solms Park to limit the number of tubers entering the water at one time. Meanwhile, back at the Guadalupe River, business is down 40 percent this year for Whitewater Sports. But manager Kris Riebschlaeger said it’s also a lot calmer.
“We’re not having all the hassles and the arrests,” Riebschlaeger. “We’re not having that. There’s obviously a lot of space.”