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Texas Continues to Suffer From That Historic Drought

by: Ben Sherman

Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 10:00 AM CST

Texas has never recovered from the 2011 drought that starved towns of water and killed billions of dollars in agriculture. Texas' water supplies are still at an extreme low, Texas' population continues to drain the resources without state leadership, and the prospect of another drought hovers in the near future.

The Austin American-Statesman has a great piece on the drought's lingering in the Lone Star State. "It's been a doozy of a drought," Mark Svoboda, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center told the paper. "It's cumulative so that system has not recovered."

The piece explains:

Officially, the drought that parched Texas starting in 2011 and its lingering effects are not as severe as the yearslong, record-making "drought of record" that stretched through the 1950s. That drought has since been the foundation of all water planning in the state.

But a combination of factors - including a rapidly expanding population, more upstream diversions to meet those growing needs and years without a major tropical system - have in some ways made this dry spell worse.

"More people, more straws in the drink, so you don't necessarily need a drought as in the '50s to see impacts worse than in the '50s. So that's what we're seeing," Svoboda said.

The pain suffered from the drought could be lessened, but state leaders appear to have no interest. While there was some money for water conservation provided in the last Legislature and approved by voters, leaders are doing nothing to curb water usage. Really, Texas and Texans need to preserve the rain the state is getting now. "The paradox of environmental impacts of drought is: precisely the time when the environment needs the water the most is when the human users are least likely to give it up," said John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas' state climatologist.

Climate science proves Texas will face another drought, sooner rather than later. It's time to prepare and prevent where possible. West Texas towns being fracked out of drinking water need to stop that vicious trend, and the state government needs to help. Texas could also stop pumping the most carbon dioxide of any state into the atmosphere by curbing oil rig land grants and investing in alternative energy.

There's an election in November.

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