While we here in California still face one of the worst droughts in our state’s history, some areas of the Western United States are enjoying the beginning of a reprieve from exceptional drought conditions. In particular, parts of Texas faced severe drought conditions over the last few years. Increased storms and precipitation in these areas of late has reduced the drought in these states. But is everything fixed with the rains these areas have received? The answer to that question unfortunately is no. While these areas have received rain to help alleviate drought conditions, Texas must also deal with the longer-term challenge of groundwater depletion that the drought caused. Hopefully California can use the case of Texas for how it will have to handle the challenges of water management after a drought. Continue reading
As I write this article from Boston (where the snow has covered the grass in front of my school and apartment for weeks), I wish that I could easily transport some of this snow to parts of the country that need it. Other parts of the west, particularly in California are facing some of the worst drought conditions ever recorded. As Rod Smith pointed out in his Post earlier this week, the California State Water Project has announced a zero percent allocation, casting serious doubt over the reliability of one of California’s most important water resources. In times like these where there is much more demand for water than supply, what groups should receive water?
Well, the answer to that depends on whom you ask. In the midst of this debate, interest groups in California and across the Western United States have rallied to put a stop to hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in areas that face extreme droughts. These groups argue that even barring the environmental concerns that fracking could cause, giving water to drilling companies in times of drought will put even further strains on our water resources in these drought stricken areas. In this piece I will discuss both sides of the issue, and address whether the potential positives of fracking can outweigh the negative ramifications of over-using water resources in times of drought. Continue reading
Last week, I discussed the fight over water entitlement from the Rio Grande River between Texas and the country of Mexico. In the severe drought that the Southwestern United States currently faces, there is not enough water to supply fully all of the water users’ needs in the region. As such, squabbles over water entitlement have cropped up over who should get what, and what end users will benefit from the tight water supplies. However, Texas and Mexico are not the only two jurisdictions that can claim water from the Rio Grande River. Although the Rio Grande River forms part of the Texas – Mexico border, the River begins in Colorado and flows through New Mexico. New Mexico relies on water entitlement from the River. In the drought conditions that the region faces, there is also tension between Texas and New Mexico over water entitlements. Continue reading
State Representative Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) recently called for a new bold plan to solve the Lone Star state’s outsized water challenges in a guest column in the Waco Tribune Herald. He proposed “an open dialogue with our neighboring states and investing in new technology to bolster our state’s water supply, rather than relying on the same approaches that have failed to provide us a water supply for future generations.” He finds Texas’s future can be found outside courtrooms and in conjunctive groundwater-surface water projects based on interstate cooperation. Continue reading