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Posts Tagged ‘drought’

Two environmental stories

Some good news, and some bad news. The bad news: We have an oyster shortage. Add an oyster shortage in Texas Gulf Coast to the problems exacerbated by the state’s years-long drought. But Texas’ dry spell isn’t the only reason the slimy delicacies are harder to come by lately. What was once an abundant supply […]

The other reason why Huy Fong won’t move to Texas

In a word, water. Huy Fong Foods, which is staying put for now, is different from Toyota and other companies that have recently been wooed or moved to Texas. It is an agribusiness, relying on thousands of tons of local fresh chiles to operate. And in rapidly growing Texas, where the population is approaching 90 […]

Give up the green

Note: From time to time, I solicit guest posts from various individuals on different topics. While I like to think I know a little something about a lot of things, I’m fortunate to be acquainted with a number of people who know a whole lot about certain topics, and who are willing to share some […]

Maybe we don’t need that much more water

More conservation would mean less demand and less need going forward. Drought-prone Texas could make better use of its existing water supplies and avoid spending billions of dollars on new reservoirs, pipelines and other big-ticket projects with more realistic forecasts for demand, according to an analysis released Friday. The report by the Texas Center for […]

It’s like the drought never really went away

If it ever did go away it didn’t go far, because here it is again. Even as light rain moved through the region Thursday, Houston officially slipped back into a moderate drought. Although most areas only recorded a few hundredths of an inch of rain, it nevertheless was the first measurable precipitation much of the […]

The D-word is back

It’s never really gone away since 2009. Locked in a seemingly endless cycle of droughts and brief reprieves, the Houston region has quietly slipped back into yet another drought. Since December Houston has received less than half its normal rainfall. That’s a pattern present since 2009, a period when the city racked up a deficit […]

Less drought

Good news. After near-normal rainfall during the spring and summer, this fall a number of drought-ending storm systems began to sweep across Texas, particularly the eastern half of the state. “Drought conditions have ended in most of East and Southeast Texas,” said John Nielsen-Gammon, the state climatologist and a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas […]

Mostly looking good for Prop 6

A good poll result for the water infrastructure Constitutional amendment. Texans support $2 billion in water infrastructure financing by a better than 2-to-1 margin, but nearly a quarter haven’t decided how they will vote on the issue this November, according to a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. The respondents favored the measure, known as […]

The water campaign begins

The most high profile constitutional amendment now has a campaign behind it. Supporters are laying the groundwork for an aggressive effort to educate voters and drown out opposition with roughly one month before early voting starts. A coalition of political action committees and business groups are leading the push. The strategy will be bankrolled by […]

The drought is still a big deal

In case you were wondering. The Brazos River has nearly dried up, prompting cities in Galveston County to issue drought alerts and preventing Brazoria County rice farmers from planting a second crop this year. Water for rice farmers and 12 of Galveston County’s 14 municipalities comes from the Gulf Coast Water Authority, which gets all […]

The drought affects the coast, too

Even more reasons to hope for rain. A growing body of research into the effects of the state’s ongoing drought, which began in late 2010 and peaked in 2011, reveal a coast deeply affected by the prolonged dry spell. “Coastal areas don’t get much attention during a drought,” said Anna Armitage, a marine biologist at […]

Drinking water from the Gulf

Well, there is a lot of water there. The wicked drought gripping Texas has made one thing clear to Bill West: There is not enough water to meet new urban demands and competing environmental needs. So in his search for new sources of water, the general manager the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority is looking in another […]

Looking forward on Memorial Park

Meet Shellye Arnold, the new Executive Director of the Memorial Park Conservancy. There is no doubt that it is a pivotal moment for the 89-year old-park. Decimated by the drought of 2011, Memorial Park lost thousands of trees. The conservancy – whose stated mission is to “restore, preserve and enhance Memorial Park for the enjoyment […]

Our drought is severe again

Not good, y’all. The situation continues to worsen across the state, with now more than 87 percent of Texas in a moderate or worse drought. It’s not clear when relief might be coming. After the very cold start to this week southerly winds have now returned to the Houston metro area, which will bring more […]

Water infrastructure bill passes

This is good. The Texas House on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to create a revolving, low-interest loan program to help finance a new round of reservoirs, pipelines and other water-supply projects for the drought-stricken state. Lawmakers approved House Bill 4 on a 146-2 vote, but left the question of how much seed money to provide the […]

The drought is back

And we’re gonna be in trouble if it doesn’t rain soon. Since the middle of August, the city has gotten just a foot of rain over a time period when it should get twice that. We also have recorded six straight months of below-normal rainfall. And despite last Sunday’s splash of rain, March is likely […]

Adventures in water marketing

The headline on this story is about Texans’ increasing interest in recycling water. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? But there’s another way of describing it that maybe isn’t so appealing. Experts say recycled wastewater will play a key role in satisfying the thirst of a rapidly growing population. While reuse now provides 2 percent of […]

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

So says our state climatologist in testimony before the Lege. 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 […]

Who gets the water?

This will be worth watching. A simple idea has guided appropriations of Texas water for decades: First come, first served. Now, with drought conditions returning to almost the entire state, the principle is being put to the test by a fight over water in the Brazos River. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is withholding […]

We’re still looking at a drought here

I know we just got a lot of rain this week, but that doesn’t mean that drought conditions are over. The latest seasonal drought outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that for much of Texas and the rest of the Southwest, the drought is likely to “persist or intensify” over the […]

Finally a focus on water

The good news is that the 2013 Lege does seem to be serious about water issues. House Speaker Joe Straus recently said Texas’ water needs will be a high priority, while Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who presides over the Senate, proposed tapping the Rainy Day Fund for $1 billion to finance new infrastructure identified in […]

Save those seeds

What would have been worse than the drought and the wildfires in Central Texas that wiped out millions of trees? Not having the wherewithal to properly reforest afterward. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, but it was a closer call than you’d have thought. The Texas A&M Forest Service was making plans to dump more than a […]

Have I mentioned the that drought is back?

I hate to say it, but it is. A dry winter that’s on track to making the record books has sent portions of Texas, including Houston and Fort Worth, back into severe drought, raising concerns about wildfires and the health of wheat crops and tree farms. September and November could be the driest of those […]

The drought is back

Bad news, y’all. The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor, released this morning, shows that more than three-quarters of Texas is now in at least a “moderate” drought, and nearly half the state is in a “severe” or worse drought. Now to be clear, conditions are still far better than 13 months ago, when […]

Rodeo kicks in for tree replanting

Trail riders coming into Houston for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo traditionally camp overnight in Memorial Park on their way to the event. Last year they did this as many of the trees around them were dying from the drought. This year, the HSLR is giving back to help with that problem. On Monday, […]

The Lege is going to have to spend some money

Whether they want to or not, there are a lot of issues that will be demanding attention and money from the Legislature when they convene in January. For example, there’s water. House Speaker Joe Straus said Friday the state’s water supply will be among his priorities after years of inaction by lawmakers. In the previous […]

Three hundred million trees

That’s the latest estimate of the toll from last year’s drought. The numbers are ugly. A whopping 301 million trees have died across state forestlands as a result of the 2011 drought, the Texas A&M Forest Service reported Tuesday. The latest count was determined after a three-month, on-the-ground study of hundreds of forested plots, as […]

A dollar a tree

Replacing the trees lost in the Bastrop fires last summer is going to cost some money, but there’s now a foundation working on raising that money. Flanked by containers bristling with pine tree seedlings, state and local officials on Tuesday announced a campaign to pay for an ambitious five-year plan to restore the Lost Pines […]

Do July showers bring August hurricanes?

So we had a nice, wet, not too hot July that among other things help erase the drought in Harris County. What could possibly be bad about that? Increased risk of hurricanes, that’s what. [Impact Weather forecaster Chris] Hebert studied the 20 wettest and 20 driest Julys on record for Houston and found a striking […]

It was more than drought that killed the trees

So say the experts. Don’t blame the drought for killing an estimated 506 million trees in Texas. At least, don’t blame it exclusively. The drought is only part of the story of why trees are dying, according to a new report by the AgriLife Extension Service at Texas A&M University. In most cases, the report […]

Who gets to use the water?

There’s a lot more demand for an increasingly limited supply. More than miles separate the rice farms of the Texas coast and the Highland Lakes, where the outward march of Austin is marked by each new house, strip mall and marina. They are divided by how to share the water of the Colorado River, pitting […]

Steve Brown: The Grown-Up’s Platform

The following is from a series of guest posts that I will be presenting over the next few weeks. Texas Democrats recently adopted a very progressive platform that addresses critical areas of need in our state. It also gives reasonable, mature Texans an alternative to empty ideological rhetoric. Although most headlines will center on our […]

Fixing pipes needs to be part of the state water plan

The idea of conservation is to use less than you are currently using. When a large part of your water usage is due to leaks and losses, any sensible plan for conservation should start with addressing the underlying issues causing those leaks. About 40 percent of the pipes supplying Houston’s water are still in use […]

Conservation is still the best water plan

The state of Texas needs to do better at it. As Texas recovers from the severe drought of the last two years, water experts say that conservation is the easiest way to ensure that the state will have enough of water for future growth. Fixing leaks is one method that took on added importance since […]