Farm Progress

Well into a third year of drought Texas reservoirs show lowest level since 1990. Triple digit temperatures pose threat to summer crops.

Ron Smith 1, Senior Content Director

August 6, 2013

2 Min Read
<p> Drought conditions across Texas and much of the Southwest persist into a third year.</p>

Drought conditions have improved slightly across Texas since last week, but reservoir levels have declined to their lowest point since 1990 at only 63 percent full, down from 64 percent last week.

Drought status dropped to 97 percent, down from 99 percent a week ago, according to the Texas Water Development Board weekly Texas Drought Report. Three months ago, drought status also held at 99 percent, higher than 88 percent this time last year.

“Aquifer levels continue to fall in most of the state,” the weekly report stated. “Drought restrictions are affecting pumping in some (areas), notably the Edwards aquifer.”

Reports indicate reservoirs in South and West Texas have some of the lowest levels. Amistad, in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, is at 41 percent capacity. Choke Canyon, near Corpus Christi, is at 38 percent; Elephant Butte, El Paso, is almost dry at 4 percent and Lavon, northeast of Dallas, is at 60 percent.

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Livingston, in the Houston area, is at 96 percent capacity, while Meredith, in the Amarillo-Lubbock area is rated at zero percent. O. H. Ivie—San Angelo-Midland-Odessa—is only at 18 percent. Travis, near Austin is rated at 33 percent capacity.

Overall, state reservoirs are at 63 percent full, off from 64 percent last week and 66 percent three months ago. Last year reservoirs were at 72 percent and normally reservoir levels at this time of year are at 83 percent.

Rainfall has been varied across the Southwest region with some areas recording helpful rain in mid-to-late July.

A report from southwest Oklahoma indicates a return of hot, dry conditions over the past two weeks. Some areas in the Texas High Plains reported varying amounts of rainfall on the last day of July.

But with return of triple digit temperatures across much of the region, crops will demand more rain as they head into the home stretch of the growing season.


Also of Interest:

Texas drought photos wanted

Drought intensity lessens

Rains make a difference but drought far from over

About the Author(s)

Ron Smith 1

Senior Content Director, Farm Press/Farm Progress

Ron Smith has spent more than 40 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. More recently, he was awarded the Norman Borlaug Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Plant Protection Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Johnson City, Tenn. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and three grandsons, Aaron, Hunter and Walker.

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