Tag Archives: Texas

Is there more water than we thought in California? Part II: Alternatives to deep groundwater extraction and areas of the US that may be able to capture similar supplies

In last week’s post, I wrote about how scientists at Stanford University identified approximately 2.2 billion acre-feet of water deep underground below California’s aquifers. While the “new” find that the Stanford group identified may be interesting, the economic and regulatory challenges surrounding this water supply may make it impractical for widespread use. However, are there alternatives to this water supply in California and other areas of the United States? Could similar projects be brought to bear in these areas? And if not, what are some potential alternatives to provide thirsty California with water supplies during a drought? I will address these issues in this post. Continue reading

The Return of Drought in Texas – A Potential Warning for California?

Forecasters now believe that there is a 95% probability of El Niño conditions this winter, and the current strength of the conditions is one of the highest on record. California and other parched areas of the West hope that soaking rains will bring much needed relief to the drought conditions that have persisted for years. But will this potential series of monster storms this winter reverse the years of drought conditions California and much of the West has experienced? Unfortunately, the answer is likely no. Golden Gate Weather Services meteorologist Jan Null estimates that the rainfall deficit from the last four years of drought in California is approximately 68 trillion gallons. Even if we could capture most of the water that falls during the heavy storms, forecasters estimate it would take between 160% and 198% of average rainfall totals just to get us out of drought conditions. However, as the case of Texas shows this year, it takes more than a deluge to reverse the effects of drought over the long-term. Texas received a deluge of rain this spring to reverse a severe four year drought, only to re-enter drought conditions this fall. In this post, I will look at Texas’s and South Carolina’s trip in and out of drought conditions, and the potential lessons we can learn to prepare for the potential extreme rains California could see this winter. Continue reading

Drought Relief and Flooding in Texas and Oklahoma

What a difference a year makes. In Texas and Oklahoma, a year can almost put an end to the drought that has ravaged those states for years. One year ago, 90% of Texas was experiencing some level of drought, and exceptional drought covered approximately 25% of the state according to the US Drought Monitor. Oklahoma also experienced a similar turnaround. One year ago, some level of drought covered 94% of Oklahoma and exceptional drought covered 26.47% of the Sooner State. However, the rain deluge and the devastating floods that accompanied the rain have almost completely alleviated the drought conditions in both states. Continue reading

Water Supply in Texas: A Two-Part Series on the Ongoing Challenges the Lone Star State Faces

Sometimes when we think of water resources, we assume that a particular state has control over its own supplies such as groundwater and river diversions. But what if a state must share water resources with other states and even other countries? In a time of severe drought as the Southwestern United States is currently facing, how states and nations share limited water resources becomes more complicated and contentious. In this two-part series, I will discuss how treaties and Texas’s negotiations between New Mexico and the country of Mexico have strained both relations and the limits of a scarce resource that each party needs. Let’s first discuss the challenges between Mexico and Texas. Continue reading