According to the Texas Drought Monitor, less than 3% of Texas is considered to be in a drought, or in “abnormally dry” conditions. The other 97% of Texas is drought free. This time last year, 60 percent of Texas was in drought conditions.
However, this does not mean that citizens can start using drinking water excessively.
Studies done by the Texas Water Development Board’s Water Data for Texas monitors drought levels and mostly test the moisture in the soil and not so much reservoir levels.
Reservoirs are where people get their drinking water from. The City of San Marcos gets drinking water from the Edward’s Aquifer.
Luckily for San Marcos, drought levels are measured by reservoir levels. However, although the Texas Drought Monitor states that San Marcos is not in a drought, this won’t be for long.
Conservation Coordinator of the City of San Marcos, Jan Klein says that reservoir levels are dropping in the Edward’s Aquifer.
“Our reservoirs are doing a lot better than they were earlier in the year but several of them are still a bit on the low side, those levels are dropping rapidly so it looks like we’re going to end up going back into a stage one drought sometime very soon, probably in the next week or so.”
Reservoir levels can be managed by cutting down water use, but this can only do so much. Klein says that reservoir levels are widely dependent on weather and San Marcos has not seen much rain since the memorial weekend floods.
“It’s dependent on the weather really it’s depending on the rain. They’re saying that we could be in a big El Nińo weather pattern which hopefully will later help us in the fall and winter months and hopefully we will get more rain but we just won’t know that for sure.”
Although the memorial weekend floods brought more than 37 trillion gallons of water to the state of Texas, Chairman of the Texas Water Development Board Bech Bruun, said that most of the water that fell in Hays County ended up in the Gulf of Mexico, not in the Edward’s Aquifer.
“Most of the rain that fell in the Blanco River that came through Hays County ultimately and unfortunately ended up in the gulf of Mexico. And that’s because there was not a water supply reservoir downstream that was able to capture the water so for that reason you’re starting to see new types of water supply strategies such as off-channel reservoirs that are being built on the lower part of our river basins so that when we have flood events we’re able to store some of that water.”
Reservoir levels statewide are about 85%, which Bruun states is a better situation than what Texas was in a year ago.
Despite current “drought-free” conditions of the state of Texas, Bruun says that history repeats itself and the Texas Water Development Board is always planning for the “worst case scenario” drought condition.