water

Weather
1:52 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

Central Texas in 'Significant' Short-Term Drought

The map on the left shows drought conditions on June 12, 2012. The map on the right (released today) shows drought conditions on June 19, 2012.
U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor released a new map today – and the news is mixed.

For the first time since March of last year, no part of Texas is under the worst stage of drought. But parts of Central Texas are actually drier than they’ve been in the last few months.

The map shows parts of Travis, Williamson, and Milam counties have been elevated from moderate to severe drought.

That’s because June, which is usually the state’s wettest month, has been abnormally dry. In fact, the last five weeks have been the second driest late May to mid-June on record.

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Austin
4:00 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

How the Homeless Deal With the Heat in Austin

KUT News

As the Texas heat rolls in, some local organizations are trying to figure out how to help the elderly and homeless weather extreme temperatures. 

“Water shouldn’t be a luxury,” says Steve Luteran, Executive Director of Front Steps, which provides assistance for the homeless. “Hydration is a fundamental need of the human body. Without it, Austin’s homeless face heat exhaustion, stroke and permanently disabling conditions.”

Front Steps will begin distributing roughly 76,000 bottles of water to the homeless on Wednesday.

And what of the elderly? Family Eldercare has a different method to help them stay cool. They’re planning to deliver around 7,000 fans and 100 air-conditioners to individuals and families in need. 

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LCRA
1:10 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Grant to Help Some Landowners in Conservation Efforts

Landowners can use matching funding for several types of projects under the Creekside Conservation Program.
Photos courtesy LCRA; collage by Laura Rice, KUT News

Landowners in the lower Colorado River basin have the opportunity to get more money for conservation efforts. The Lower Colorado River Authority received a federal grant that will help landowners reduce soil erosion and increase native plant and animal diversity.

The EPA grant will increase the amount of matching funding for qualified landowners in 11 counties from $10,000 to $15,000.

The LCRA says this program can make a big difference.

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AM Update
8:21 am
Thu May 17, 2012

AM Update: Sound Off on Area Code 737, Quake Shakes East Texas, Water Rate Hike in Kyle

Different area codes: A map of Texas shows the 512 service zone, soon to see introduction of the 737 area code.
Map image courtesy Wikipedia; phone photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

What Do You Think of Area Code 737?

The Public Utility Commission wants to hear from Central Texans this morning about the plan to add a new area code.

Because of population growth and the popularity of cell phones, the commission says 512 numbers are running out and numbers with a 737 area code will soon be added.

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Environment
5:01 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Kyle Calls Off Water Restrictions

A river over the Edwards Aquifer, which supplies water to Kyle.
Photo courtesy edwardsaquifer.org

The city of Kyle is lifting its water restrictions.

In a letter sent out today, the city says recent rains have "sufficiently recharged" supplies "to allow for the removal of water restrictions beginning immediately. However, even with the removal of mandatory twice a week watering and other restrictions, City officials continue to ask residents to do their part to conserve water." Tips include checking your home and property for leaky pipes and not using a lawn irrigation system that is damaged or is spraying water onto a road or parking lot.

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Environment
12:50 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Austin Water Announces $125 Million Repair Program

Get ready to see a lot more of this: Austin Water announced a five-year pipe repair program today.
Photo by Carlos Morales for KUT News

Austin Water launched “Renewing Austin” today, a five-year program to replace 75 miles of old cast-iron waterlines. 

The announcement was made this morning at a construction site downtown, where old pipes were already being replaced.

“We’re going to try to replace about 15 miles of those projects every year for at least the next five years,” said Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros. “And hopefully much beyond that, and so we’re going to be investing ... millions dollars over the next five years to replace those projects that are high priority for us.”

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Texas
1:42 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Will Water Rights Decision Open Floodgate of Similar Lawsuits?

A decision found that property owners may be compensated for water underneath their property, if they're prohibited from pumping over a certain amount.
Photo courtesy usgs.gov

The perennial issue of Texas water rights may soon reach a boiling point.

Today, the Texas Supreme Court handed down a ruling stating property owners can be compensated for water underneath their property, if a limit has been placed on the amount they can pump by a water authority.

KUT’s Mose Buchele, reporting for StateImpact Texas, writes:

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Top Stories
10:06 am
Sun January 29, 2012

Sunday Morning Headlines for January 29, 2012

Implementing the 'Sonogram Law'

The Texas Tribune has this look at the practicalities of implementing the state's sonogram law - which requires abortion providers to show a sonogram image and play the fetus' heartbeat for the mother within 24 hours of performing an abortion. Clinics say complying with the law has become a "bureaucratic nightmare".

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water
1:28 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

Rain Eases Drought, But Doesn’t Break It

The Texas Water Development Board heard an update Thursday on the historic drought gripping Texas.
Photo by Daniel Reese/KUT News

Cooler temperatures and more rain have lifted much of the state out of the most serious level of drought. In early October, 88 percent of Texas was in exceptional drought, as of Tuesday – that was down to 41 percent. That might sound like progress, but as Hydrologist Mark Wentzel told the Board, there is still more of Texas in exceptional drought today than at any other time this century.

“So as good as this look relative to early October,” Wentzel told the panel, “it’s still more than twice as bad as the conditions of 2009.”

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Environment
3:08 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Report: Some Area Swimming Holes Fail To Meet E. Coli Standards

A dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria shown under an electron microscope
Photo courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Hamilton Pool, Stillhouse Hollow, and Bull Creek near Loop 360 have all tested for levels of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria that exceeded both state and federal standards, according to an analysis of government data by Environment Texas. Some strains of E. coli can make adults sick and cause kidney failure among young children and the elderly.

The Environment Texas report released today – What Else is Swimming in Your Favorite Texas Swimming Hole? – used data from the City of Austin, the Lower Colorado River Authority and other official sources to draw these conclusions:

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Texas
11:36 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Texas to Enact Five-Year Water Plan

The Texas Water Development Board is expected to adopt a new water plan in December.
Photo by KUT News

Facing a severe drought and dwindling water sources, Texas is moving toward adopting its next five-year state water plan.

Drafting the plan is never easy, and this time it grew difficult because of a reservoir dispute in northeast Texas; questions about climate change science; and the sheer population growth of the state.

Amid that scenario, the Texas Water Development Board is expected to consider approving the water plan Dec. 15 after postponing a decision at its last meeting, agency officials said.  

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drought
4:41 pm
Mon November 14, 2011

Texas Town in Race to Find New Water Source

Keith Tilley, director of public works for the town of Groesbeck , photographed at Fort Parker Lake i Fort Parker State Park.
Photo by Allison V. Smith

On her way to work recently, Jackie Levingston, the volunteer mayor of this ranching town east of Waco, stopped at an office in City Hall to pay her water bill. “Before there’s no water left to buy,” she said, making a sad joke.

Groesbeck, which has received no measurable rainfall since April, ranks near the top of the state’s list of communities in danger of running out of water. The most intense drought in Texas history has caused the water against the dam dividing the Navasota River, Groesbeck’s sole source of water, to fall 44 inches below its normal level.

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water
2:48 pm
Mon November 14, 2011

City Begins Wastewater Averaging

Photo by Aaron Harmon http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronharmon/

The City of Austin is starting to average the amount of wastewater you use. That averaging, which will continue until mid-March, determines how much you will pay.  

But unlike last year, when the highest amount used during the period was tossed out of the averaging, the city will base this year’s average on all three months. 

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Environment
2:06 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Austin Congressman McCaul a Top Water User Despite Drought

The entrance to Michael McCaul's community, photographed in early November 2011.
Photo by Muliadi Soenaryo for the Texas Tribune

In Texas House and Senate hearings this week, state lawmakers heard repeatedly about the crisis created by the record-breaking drought — and the need for Texans to conserve water.

One elected official who has lagged on this front is U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin.

From October 2010 through September 2011 — a time period that corresponds almost exactly to the first 12 months of the drought — a property belonging to McCaul and his wife was the sixth-largest water user among all Austin residential customers, according to records obtained from Austin's water utility. The McCauls' water consumption, 1.4 million gallons over those 12 months, comes to about 15 times the consumption of the average Austin home over that time.

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Environment
4:59 pm
Wed October 26, 2011

The Top 25 Water Users in Austin

 

A few years back, Lance Armstrong was caught. He apologized, admitted the error of his ways, and promised to do better in the future. His offense? Using too much water.

Armstrong had used 330,000 gallons of water in July 2008. He hadn’t even been home at his three acre, 14,475 square foot estate. “I’m a little shocked,” he told a newspaper at the time. “There’s no justification for that much water. I need to fix this.”

Well, it’s been several summers since then, this last one being notable for being the hottest and driest on record. And the city is in stage two watering restrictions because of the historic drought.  But it would appear Armstrong has not learned how to conserve. According to data from Austin Water Utility, he used around 1.3 million gallons of water in the last year, putting him among the top ten residential users of water in town.

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