drought

Energy & Environment
10:37 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Could 2014 Be A Drought Buster For Texas?

An empty rain gauge is strapped to a fence post on the edge of a pasture this summer near Canadian, Texas.
Scott Olsen, Getty Images

From StateImpact Texas: 

In Spanish, El Niño means “the boy child.” But if El Niño predictions for late 2014 prove correct, winter rainfall in Texas could be anything but little.  The deceptively-named weather pattern generally brings rain. Lots of it.

El Niño occurs when warm water buried below the surface of the Pacific rises up and spreads along the equator towards America. It often causes storms that devastate parts of Latin America, Indonesia and Australia, but it could also bring relief to drought-stricken Texas.

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Energy & Environment
4:08 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

Central Texas Farmers Could Lose Water Access Due to Drought

Rice farmers in Texas could face a third year in a row of being cut off from water due to severe drought conditions. (Jeff Heimsath/StateImpact Texas)

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 4:41 pm

Half of Texas is experiencing drought conditions, and for the third year in a row, rice farmers in Central Texas may be cut off from water supplies because of severe drought.

The Lower Colorado River Authority has asked the state to approve emergency plans to cut water to farmers in 2014 if reservoir lakes are at less than 55 percent capacity. The lakes are currently 36 percent full.

Homes and businesses would also face water restrictions.

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Enviorment
8:32 am
Thu November 21, 2013

How Rain Brought Fall Colors Back to Austin

Austin's seeing brighter leaves this fall, thanks to recent rainfall.
Credit flickr.com/visualpanic

Think of fall’s turning leaves, and Texas may not be the first state to come to mind. But Austinites have seen their fair share of autumnal red and gold this year – thanks in large part to recent rains.

Jerry Brand, a molecular bioscience professor at the University of Texas, says the color changes in the leaves are due to a specific molecule called a carotenoid.  

“These color molecules called carotenoids can come in several different colors depending on the plant, depending on the light intensity they’ve been exposed to, and other environmental factors,” Brand says.

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Proposition 6
9:54 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

How Prop 6 Passed, and What’s Up Next for Water Projects in Texas

Linda Curtis of Independent Texans and Jerry Locke of the Texas Drought Project watch the election returns roll in Tuesday evening. Both groups opposed the measure.
Credit Michael Marks for StateImpact Texas

Texans passed a constitutional amendment Tuesday to jump-start financing for water projects in the state: Proposition 6, which would take $2 billion in surplus state money from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to start a water infrastructure loan program. The measure had widespread support from both sides of the aisle as well as business and environmental groups. With over half of precincts reporting, the measure is passing with 75 percent of the vote and has been called by the Associated Press.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the members of the legislature who worked in a collaborative way on a very positive agenda for planning for our future water needs,” Speaker of the House Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, said at a rally celebrating the amendment’s passage Tuesday evening. “But the people of Texas today validated our good work with an overwhelming vote of support.” Some Libertarian and smaller environmental groups were vocally against the measure.

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StateImpact Texas
11:00 am
Wed October 23, 2013

More than Prayer: How Prop 6 Aims to Improve Water Supplies in Texas

Water sources like Lake Travis have seen record lows since the drought in 2011, Proposition 6 hopes to develop techniques to preserve existing, and develop new, water supplies.
Lower Colorado River Authority

2011 was the driest year in Texas’ recorded history — crops failed, herds were sold off and lakes and reservoirs literally went dry. And in the middle of this catastrophic drought, the state of Texas had one vocal strategy: Pray for rain. Texas Governor Rick Perry issued a proclamation that year asking Texans to pray for rain for three days.

Now, a few dry years and billions of dollars in drought losses later, the state government has decided that prayer alone isn’t enough for a thirsty state. And, while Perry admits we can't make it rain,  Proposition 6, a state constitutional amendment on the ballot this year, will extend the existing water supply and develop new supplies.

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Drought
5:30 am
Mon October 14, 2013

A Tiny Bit of Vegetable Oil Could Save Texas Billions of Gallons of Water

Right now, the Highland Lakes are only 34 percent full. In an average year, they lose about as much water to evaporation as the whole city of Austin consumes.
Lower Colorado River Authority

Parts of Central Texas saw as much as 12 inches of rain over the weekend. Water levels in the Highland Lakes  rose slightly, but the storm was far from a drought-buster.

Lakes Travis and Buchanan remain only about one-third full. 

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Arts Eclectic
3:13 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

'THIRST' Features a Ghostly Tree on Lady Bird Lake

Concept art for "THIRST"

This weekend, a new art installation will open that will be hard to miss. THIRST, from Women and Their Work, comprises two components: a series of 14,000 prayer flags which will form a 2.5 mile loop near Lady Bird Lake, and a 35-foot cedar elm tree that will hover above the lake itself.

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Drought
11:04 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Austin Lakefront Institution Closes Doors For Lack Of Water

Dockside at Carlos 'n Charlie's on Lake Travis.
Pete Clark

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 2:54 pm

Carlos 'n Charlie's restaurant on Lake Travis in Austin, Texas, will be having its last last call on Monday. But don't bother coming by boat.

The restaurant has been a lakeside hotspot since it opened in 1995. Back then, docking at the restaurant's wharf was a popular way to take in the party atmosphere, which part-owner Pete Clark describes as like "a cheap Spring break movie."

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Weather
9:30 am
Tue June 11, 2013

When Will Austin Reach its First Triple Digit Day?

More rainfall earlier this year should mean 2013 sees (hopefully) fewer triple digit days.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Today marks the anniversary of Austin’s first 100-degree day in 2012, but Austinites have yet to face temperatures in the triple digits this year.

If current weather patterns continue, Austin may only experience a few 100-degree days this summer. That’s according to Cory Van Pelt, a forecaster with the National Weather Service for Austin/San Antonio.

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Texas
6:01 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Drought Outlook Better in East Texas, Worse in South

South Texas will likely be staying dry for the foreseeable future.
U.S. Drought Monitor

Good news and bad in the latest drought forecast from the federal government: The situation is expected to improve in the next few months east of Central Texas, but it’s expected stay bad and even get worse in parts of South Texas.

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Texas
3:15 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Country Troubadour Kevin Fowler Wants You to 'Take Care of Texas'

Kevin Fowler is the face of the new "Take Care of Texas" campaign.

Today the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Texas Parks and Wildlife announced a new statewide public service campaign: “Take Care of Texas.”

The campaign featuring a jingle written and performed by Texas country music star Kevin Fowler. The tune stresses the importance of water and energy conservation, especially during this period of extended drought.

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Texas
10:57 am
Tue June 4, 2013

TCEQ Needs More Time to Examine LCRA Water Plan

The LCRA is operating under emergency drought relief. Under those orders, most downstream rice farmers did not receive Highland Lakes water for their crops in 2012 or 2013.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is taking more time to review the Lower Colorado River Authority’s water management plan. The additional evaluation could take about a year.

The water management plan directs how the LCRA uses lakes Travis and Buchanan to meet the needs of water users. The state wants to meet with stakeholders and collect more data before approving the new plan.

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Drought
10:31 am
Fri May 17, 2013

Drought Eases In The East, But Still Worrisome Out West

Ruined topsoil in Logan, Kan., in August of last year. Drought conditions will persist in parts of the country this spring and summer, forecasters say.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 17, 2013 11:19 am

The federal agencies saddled with doom-and-gloom forecasts have mixed news (PDF) for the vast regions of the country that have been suffering from drought.

The good news is reserved for Easterners and Midwesterners: Your drought pain has eased notably, the forecasters say, and the summer promises above-average heat but more precipitation.

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Environment
2:49 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

NASA: Warming Climate Likely Means More Floods, Droughts

Flash floods followed heavy rains in northern India in September.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 11:53 am

The Earth's wettest regions are likely to get wetter while the most arid will get drier due to warming of the atmosphere caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, according to a new NASA analysis of more than a dozen climate models.

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Texas
5:10 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Drought May Ease in NE Texas but Persist Elsewhere

The line between drought improvment and persistence passes through Texas.
National Weather Service

The Texas drought is forecast to diminish slightly in the latest long-range outlook from the National Weather Service.

Meteorologist Anthony Artusa says most of the improvement is expected in northeastern Texas, with a sliver of some improvements in the central and southeastern parts of the state.

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