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Drought in Texas, August 2011

The following is an advanced copy of a special e-newsletter from the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI), a portion of which will be published publically next Wednesday, August 17. Please feel free to use the information in this e-newsletter for your own news stories and outreach efforts.

State Climatologist on the latest drought information

Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist and professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, sat down with TWRI earlier this week and provided insight on the current drought. The following quotes from the interview are provided for you to use in news releases and publications. (Nielsen-Gammon has given permission for these quotes to be used, with the requirement that the quotes are not altered in any way and attribution is given.)

"Since October 1 (2010), we've had a little more than 9 inches of rain on average for the state; normal would be about 23 inches, so we're well below 50 percent."

"If we don't get 4.5 inches of rain between now and the end of September, we will have the driest one-year period ever, surpassing 1956, which is the drought of record for most places."

"Up until the last month or so, the outlook for this winter looked really promising. Some of the indications now say that we might see another La Niņa developing, which will tilt the odds toward another dry winter. The thing to worry about is the 50 percent chance of a La Niņa this winter and the possibility that the drought will continue and water supplies will continue to get worse."

"I suspect that if the drought continues like it has, sometime next year some places in the state will exceed their drought of record and with the increase of population and the increase of water use we'll start seeing some serious problems. Hopefully during the next few months places will work out and try to figure out, 'Well, what would happen if we had another dry year like this one? How much projections in water use would that be? What restrictions would we have to put in?.' Not often can you see a disaster coming a year in advance, and certainly the odds are against a disaster next year, but the odds are a lot better now than they would be in other years. So this is a rare opportunity to plan ahead for a disaster that may be coming and prevent it from becoming a disaster."

"It's important to separate optional uses of water from mandatory uses of water. You have to drink; you don't necessarily have to keep your lawn green throughout the year. The more water that gets conserved now, the more water is available for next year if the drought goes on into next year."

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Resources

More Drought Resources
More Water Conservation Resources

Drought in the news:

Drought officially 2nd-worst on record in Texas

Drought impact moves toward record: Statistics show that Texas agriculture is taking its hardest hit ever

Online calculator helps homeowners preserve lawns while saving water

Drought management focus of October Ranch Management University workshop

Rebuilding herds after the drought

Current drought pales in comparison with 1950s ‘drought of record’

Drought is taking toll on Texas aquifers

AgriLife Extension Expert: Water well owners advised to practice conservation during historic drought

Agricultural and Wildlife Water Use

Strategies for drought management and recovery are critical to any agricultural operation. The following resources and fact sheets provide information for agricultural production and wildlife management.

In-Home Water Use

Water conservation begins at home, and every drop counts. Developing an attitude of conservation can help residential users save both water and money by conserving water during daily activities around the home. The following resources and facts sheet can help anyone learn how to conserve water in their home.

Landscape Irrigation

By incorporating conservation principles into their landscape management, homeowners and professionals can maintain attractive landscapes while conserving water. The following resources and fact sheets provide information on how to achieve this balance.

Do you have questions about water? We can help.

TWRI fosters and communicates priority water resources research and educational outreach programs throughout Texas. We have extensive listings of water conservation and drought resources, in addition to our various publications. We produce txH2O, a magazine published three times per year that features water research and education in Texas.

This special newsletter is distributed in association with New Waves, TWRI's monthly email newsletter, which delivers breaking news about water resources education and research in Texas. To subscribe to TWRI publications, visit twri.tamu.edu/publications/subscribe.

Drought in Texas is a special e-mail newsletter of Texas Water Resources Institute, part of Texas AgriLife Research, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.

If you have information for possible inclusion in Drought in Texas please e-mail Leslie Lee at lhlee@ag.tamu.edu, call 979.862.7139, or contact us on Twitter (twitter.com/TxWRI) and include your contact information. All submissions may be edited for grammar and style.

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