drought

food
4:16 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Texas Grocery Prices Fluctuate As Beef Price Surge Looms

This grid from the Texas Farm Bureau shows how grocery prices have changed. The "quarterly change" represents price fluctuations over the last three months.
Photo by Texas Farm Bureau

The price of grapefruit in Texas skyrocketed by almost 25 percent from June to September and sliced turkey was up 14 percent. But chicken breast was six percent cheaper over the same time frame and the price of a head of lettuce cost nine percent less.

Average it all out, and Texas food prices were relatively steady over the last three months, according to the Texas Farm Bureau’s Grocery Price Watch report.

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Environment
3:00 pm
Fri September 23, 2011

Fixing Leaky Toilets to Conserve Water

An Austin plumbing company wants to save the city 3-million gallons of water every month, one toilet flapper at a time.
Photo by KUT News.

An Austin-based plumbing company is taking on an ambitious job to battle the ongoing drought. Radiant Plumbing says it can save the city three million gallons of water per month. It plans on doing this by replacing one thousand leaky toilet flappers for free. Sarah Casebier is one of Radiant Plumbing's co-owners.

“If we wanted to do something that makes a difference, there’s not a lot of things that a plumber can do," she told KUT News. "But this is something we can do.”

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News Brief
7:05 am
Wed September 21, 2011

Top Morning Stories September 21, 2011

Low lake levels, including at Lake Travis, have the LCRA considering reducing or cutting off water supplies to some farmers.
Photo by KUT News.

LCRA Vote Could Cut Off Water for Farmers

The Lower Colorado River Authority’s Board is scheduled to vote today on plans that could reduce or cut off water from the Highland Lakes to farmers. 

LCRA staff recommends cutting off water to farmers, if lake levels don’t fill up significantly and if dry conditions continue into next year. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality would have to approve any of the LCRA’s plans.  Lakes Travis and Buchanan are a major water supply for Central Texas cities, including Austin.

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Austin
12:08 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

LCRA May Cut Off Water to Farmers

The Lower Colorado River Authority is considering reducing or cutting off water to farmers because of dropping lake levels and the ongoing drought.
KUT News

The Lower Colorado River Authority is considering asking the state for permission to reduce or cut off water from the Highland Lakes to farmers next year because of the ongoing drought and dropping lake levels. In a press release, the LCRA stated: 

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drought
2:06 pm
Fri September 16, 2011

Biologists Set To Rescue Fish From Drying Texas Rivers

Originally published on Fri September 16, 2011 11:34 am

This news story from the Associated Press gives you an idea of just how bad drought conditions are in Texas:

Wildlife biologists on Friday will evacuate two species of minnows from the shrinking waters of a West Texas river in the first of what could be several rescue operations involving fish affected by the state's worst drought in decades.

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Environment
6:34 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Texas Water Utility Plans for Drought Worse Than 1950s

Water levels have dropped at Lake Travis because the drought, May 16 2011.
Lower Colorado River Authority

Fearing that this drought could reduce lake levels lower than ever before, the board of the Lower Colorado River Authority, the wholesale supplier of water to Austin and other Central Texas cities, plans to meet next week to discuss reducing or ending its water sales to downriver farmers next year.

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drought
5:38 pm
Tue September 13, 2011

WilCo Nixes Smoking In Parks, Hays Extends Burn Ban

Southwest Williamson County Regional Park is one the places affected by the smoking ban.
Photo by City of Round Rock http://www.flickr.com/photos/cityofroundrock/

Williamson County followed Austin’s lead today and banned smoking in parks, nature preserves, and along trails. The parched conditions make it ripe for wildfires. Outdoor cooking is still allowed as long as it’s done in an enclosure that contains all flames and sparks.

Austin banned smoking and charcoal grilling in parks back in April. The restriction will remain in effect during the Austin City Limits music festival, which takes place in Austin’s Zilker Park this weekend.

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Texas
1:33 pm
Fri September 2, 2011

Gulf Coast Braces For Major Drenching

A satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed the tropical low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday.
AP

Originally published on Fri September 2, 2011 5:00 pm

A slow-moving depression strengthened into a tropical storm as it slogged toward the Gulf Coast on Friday, packing walloping rains that could drench the region with up to 20 inches.

Tropical Storm Lee, the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, was moving northwest at just 2 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The storm's center is expected to approach the Louisiana coast over the weekend.

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Texas
1:45 pm
Fri August 26, 2011

In Response to Drought, State Ramps up "Hay Hotline"

Crops are dying in the fields in Texas, due to extreme heat and drought. That means little feed for livestock. It all adds up to an agricultural catastrophe.
Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News

Ranchers are suffering through the worst one-year drought in Texas history. Many have given up trying to feed their cattle and are bringing them to auction at double, or even triple the normal rate.  For those holding on to their livestock, finding affordable feed is a growing challenge.

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Austin
1:06 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Rain Briefly Greets Austin This Afternoon

Brief showers developed over parts of Austin. NWS meteorologists say Austin could see a little bit more from small storms coming from East Texas.
Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News.

Did you leave your car windows down today? You’ll probably return to some damp car seats. Parts of Austin finally saw some rain this afternoon. The weather that is usually considered an annoyance for those working and walking outside, was instead a welcome change.

“It wasn’t much, but it’s something,” said one of a group of construction workers who were relieved they finally have some cloud cover.

“It's cooler but it’s more humid,” said UT freshman Cristina Portillo. “I’d rather have the dry heat. ”

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Texas
5:00 pm
Thu August 18, 2011

Texas Parks and Wildlife Issues Black Bear Warning

Photo by Alanahmontreal at http://www.flickr.com/photos/alanahmontreal/3860014203/

Leaving out cat food for the neighborhood cat? You might be feeding the neighborhood bear instead, according to a statement by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

“We’re getting a few reports of people seeing bears during daylight hours, and that’s unusual,” says Mike Krueger of Texas Parks and Wildlife. “It’s the associated water around homes and the food. The pet food, the smell of cooking; all those things could attract bears. ”

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Texas
12:26 pm
Wed August 17, 2011

Report: Texas Crop Losses At $5.2 Billion

The drought has taken its toll on a Burleson County pasture.
Photo by Blair Fannin/Texas AgriLife Extension Service

State agriculture officials say farmers and ranchers in Texas have suffered $5.2 billion in losses since last November, due to the current drought.

That tops the previous record for agriculture losses set back in 2006.

The losses cut across most of the state's crops, including cotton, corn, wheat, sorghum and hay.

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Environment
1:16 pm
Fri August 12, 2011

Drought Leads to a Rise In Animal Bites

Kelly Conrad Bender, an urban wildlife biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, shows off a Mexican Milk snake. Bender discussed the issues involving the drought and wild animal bites at the University Medical Center at Brakenridge.
Photo by Jessie Wang for KUT News

The number of venomous bites and stings has increased since last year as the drought sends snakes and other wild animals searching for food and water.

Kelly Conrad Bender, an urban wildlife biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, came to the University Medical Center Brakenridge to explain the changes in wildlife.

“Wildlife, these individual animals, has not experienced this kind of drought, but their species has. They are the result of thousands of years of adaptation to our climate and these droughts do happen occasionally, maybe once every 50 to 100 years. So the species, given appropriate habitat and given a good balanced stable habitat, they will survive and they’ll come out stronger,” Bender said.

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Texas
2:18 pm
Mon August 1, 2011

Burn Bans in Place in a Record 249 Counties

A record number of burn bans are in place in Texas with 249 counties.
Photo by KUT News

The Texas Forest Service maintains a map of which counties in the state have outdoor burn bans, and notes them in red. As of this morning, the map makes Texas look like it's got a bad sunburn.

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Austin
4:52 pm
Fri July 29, 2011

Hays County Reminds Businesses of Drought Disaster Assistance

Severe drought conditions throughout Texas have made federally-subsidized loans available to small businesses.
Photo Courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture

Hays County officials sent out a quick reminder to his week to help raise awareness of U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loans.

The SBA announced in June that small, non-farm businesses in all 254 Texas counties are eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans to help cover financial losses caused by the drought. But the Hays County Commissioners Court worried local businesses didn't know they could apply for the help.

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parks and recreation
5:00 pm
Mon July 25, 2011

City Needs Help Saving Park Trees From Drought

A tree in Bull Creek District Park
Photo by KUT News

The record drought is imperiling Austin’s trees. But the city’s Parks and Recreations Department only has about 120 employees to maintain about 15,000 acres of parkland. So the Austin Parks Foundation is hoping it can convince friendly neighbors to help its trees survive.

Their preventive measure is simple but it will require you to break a sweat: spreading mulch around the base of the tree.

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food
2:51 pm
Mon July 25, 2011

Help Drought Stricken Farmers: Eat Their Food

courtesy flickr.com/photos/46523905@N00/

Three-quarters of Texas is experiencing “exceptional drought”, the worst category used by the US Drought Monitor. The effect on farmers and ranchers has been profound. But a state program launching today aims to give city folk a way to help farmers and ranchers by enjoying the fruits – and meats – of their labor.

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Texas
11:55 am
Mon July 18, 2011

Chance of Tropical Rain Looks Slim

The exceptional drought could get worse with no chance of significant rainfall in the near term.
Photo by KUT News

In case you haven't noticed, it is hot, hot, hot outside and Central Texas is in need of some showers. Late July and early August are normally the driest and hottest parts of the summer, so the chance of rain is slim.

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Environment
2:21 pm
Wed July 6, 2011

Water Precautions for New Schlitterbahn Park

Schitterbahn's owners expect to open a new water park in Cedar Park, like the one on Galveston Island (pictured), in 2013.
Photo coutesy Galveston.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/galvestonisland/

A new Schiltterbahn water park will open in two years in Cedar Park. It’s slated to be smaller than the New Braunfels location. Officials say plans for the park take into consideration frequent drought conditions in Central Texas, much like the region is experiencing now.

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Texas
12:16 pm
Wed July 6, 2011

What Do Stage Four Water Restrictions Mean For Fredricksburg?

Fredericksburg starts enforcing Stage Four water restrictions Thursday.
Photo by KUT News

Extreme drought conditions and continued high water usage have prompted the City of Fredericksburg to implement Stage Four water restrictions. They take effect tomorrow.

If you were wondering what that means, here are the details:

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