If drought continues through 2014, south and central Texas could face extreme conditions
The Guadalupe Basin Coalition (GBC) has unanimously endorsed a resolution urging regional water providers and users to conserve water to the maximum extent possible to stretch the available supply should the drought continue into 2014 as predicted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center. The full resolution can be found at www.guadalupebasincoalition.org.
GBC members recently met to discuss the current conditions across the Guadalupe River Basin and the Edwards Aquifer, whose springs are the primary source of water for the river during droughts. Despite welcomed recent rainfall, the Guadalupe River and Edwards Aquifer remain far below normal for this time of year. The Edwards Aquifer J-17 index well in San Antonio is now over 25-ft below the historical average for September. The Guadalupe River at Victoria has risen with the recent rainfall to 400 cu ft per second of flow, however it is still only 20% of the historical mean flow. Fortunately, heavier localized rainfall has reduced the salinity of San Antonio Bay, meaning that most of the drought impacts are being felt upstream in the watershed.
The drought began in fall 2010 and has persisted in the western half of Texas. The impacts of the drought are well documented and range from depleted aquifers and surface water reservoirs to agricultural losses, urban water rationing and dry riverbeds.
The GBC will reconvene in late November to reevaluate hydrologic conditions in the region. Late November is typically the end of the fall peak in rainfall and conditions at that time are likely to be the conditions facing South Central Texas at the beginning of spring when the next period of rainfall typically begins.