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That drought we’re having? It’s still bad

So says our state climatologist in testimony before the Lege.

John Nielsen-Gammon

John Nielsen-Gammon, the state climatologist, said that during the past two years Texas received only 68 percent of its typical rainfall, making it the third driest period on record. If the extreme conditions extend through the summer, only the 1950s drought would be drier, he said.

“There is still a good chance that this could be the drought of record for parts of the state,” Nielsen-Gammon told lawmakers.

The most recent federal data shows 90 percent of Texas experiencing abnormally dry conditions, with 22 percent in extreme or exceptional drought. Meanwhile, the amount of water stored in reservoirs statewide is at its lowest point for this time of year since 1990, state officials said.

Against that backdrop, lawmakers are considering a one-time transfer from the state’s unencumbered rainy day fund into a new account to help pay for reservoirs, pipelines and other water-supply projects. The Texas Water Development Board has identified $53 billion in needed infrastructure to avoid grave shortages over the next half-century.

Seems like every time I write about the drought we get a good soaking, so consider this my contribution to drought relief. As Forrest Wilder noted, Nielsen-Gammon even managed to talk about the correlation between climate change and drought without anyone’s head exploding, so you know, progress. Let’s see if that makes it easier to take action.

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