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When much-needed rains soaked many parts of the state, residents and media outlets cheered, “The drought has broken!” The rains were a relief to those areas; however, much of the state remains in a serious drought, and many municipalities in other areas are cautiously maintaining their Stage I, Stage II, or even Stage III drought status.

Fortunately, those municipalities have avoided falling prey to the “hydro-illogical” cycle, where apathy follows rain, and then concern follows a drought, which leads to panic after the drought continues.

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TagsDrought Contingency, Drought Response, Sustainability, Drought Restrictions, water supply,

Water supplies were dwindling, temperatures were soaring, and record peak day demands were experienced day after day. This is the situation many water utilities experienced during the summer of 2011. During a drought when supplies are limited, what tools are available to a water manager?

Drought Contingency Plans:These plans are more than just regulatory requirements by the TCEQ.  A well-crafted drought contingency plan can be the playbook for water managers as they encounter a drought. Minimally the drought contingency plan should:

  • Define the roles and
  • ...

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TagsConservation, 2011 drought,

Over the last year, Freese and Nichols has hosted half-day and one-hour seminars to discuss Texas' drought with recommendations on how clients can respond. Questions included: How does the Texas drought affect our clients? How does the 2011 drought compare to previous droughts? How long will the drought last? What can our clients do in response to the drought?  Click here to view the February 2012 presentation for the one-hour Freese and Nichols drought seminar.  Click...

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TagsHistorical Drought Information, Drought Response, Drought Outlook, historical drought maps, Drought Index, Current Drought Conditions, Drought Monitor, Forecasts, Water Rights, fast-track project, Climate, La Nina, Drought Contingency,

For much of Texas, the drought of 2011 is the most severe one-year drought on record.  Climatologists predict the drought will continue for the foreseeable future. Additionally, Texas continues to grow rapidly in many metropolitan areas.  These and other factors put pressure on existing water supplies to meet demands. Water Resources Project Manager and Freese and Nichols Principal Rusty Gibson addressed these factors in a recent paper prepared for the American Society of Civil...

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Tagswater transmission, water supply, permitting, fast-track project, environment, Drought Response, construction,

By Guest Author – Brad B. Castleberry, Principal; Lloyd Gosselink Attorneys and Counselors

In addition to drought contingency plans, some owners should consider the stability of their water supplies, especially if the source is surface water. Surface water rights in Texas are governed by the prior appropriation doctrine, which means "first in time, first in right." Drought conditions in 2011 resulted in priority calls in several Texas river basins.  

TCEQ held a stakeholder meeting in August 2011 and a public hearing in December 2011 to discuss implementation...

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TagsWater Rights, TCEQ, Priority, Drought Response,

In response to the 2011 drought, many water providers were implementing multiple stages of their drought contingency plans for the first time. “Drought Forces Water Contingency Plans Across State,” first published last summer in Freese and Nichols' AquAlert, discusses specific considerations for water providers in developing and implementing a drought contingency plan. It's found on page 2 of the Summer 2011 issue of aquALERT.

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TagsTCEQ, Drought Response, Drought Contingency,

What should you consider?

  • Water contract and right restrictions
  • Drought contingency plan requirements
  • Supplier, customer and regulatory agency coordination
  • Coordination with governing bodies
  • Connected supply and demand comparison
  • Reactions of others and impact on water supply
  • Low lake levels and intake elevations
  • Transmission system restrictions
  • Increased losses in bed and banks delivery
  • Impacts on water demand
  • Impacts on water quality
  • Available drought
  • ...

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TagsWater Rights, Tips, lake levels, drought, Conservation,

Texas’ 2011 drought was the most severe one-year Texas drought on record; however, the drought of the 1950s is still considered to be the “drought of record” for much of the state because of its intensity and duration. The links below will direct you to historical drought information dating from 1895 to 2011. Most of the referenced information is more recent drought and climatic data. 

Recommended Sites

Texas Water Development Board: Texas Drought in Motion, Maps Over the Last 12 Months...

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Tagsdrought, Climate,

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