Right now, Texas is facing one of the most severe droughts in its history. This has had a devastating effect on the state's corn crops, and it has also had a significant impact on orchards. Ever since the first olive groves were planted in Texas in the 1990s, they have been affected by hurricanes, drought and cold weather. The trees have been confused by sudden changes in temperature, resulting in them not bearing fruit.
Aqua Texas, which supplies water to 280,000 customers in Texas, has taken steps to reduce the impacts of its pumping. The big question that Texas has yet to answer is where it will find enough water by 2070 (8.5 million acre-feet) to keep more than 50 million people safe, satisfied and prosperous during increasingly intense droughts. This amount of water is roughly half of China's water deficit. If you live anywhere in Central Texas, you are currently in phase 3, “extreme drought”, or have already moved to the highest phase, phase 4, “exceptional drought”.
Residents of Dripping Springs received a notification of boiling water on July 20th due to the drought. The Texas Water Development Board has provided instructions on how much should be spent in Texas to protect its freshwater reserves; it also encourages conservation and new practices that will make it easier to survive droughts. The terrible and prolonged drought in the early 1950s prompted the Legislature to establish the Texas Water Development Board to do everything it could to relieve the stress caused by deep droughts. Rick Broun, general manager of the local water utility, told Dripping Springs Century News that the pressure loss in the system was due to “the enormous amount of irrigation that was used last night”.Robert Mace, executive director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University in San Marcos, has reported that the largest springs in Central Texas, which come from the Edwards Aquifer, are approaching their lowest flow levels in history. The rapid increase in population outside existing municipal areas, together with the lack of land-use tools in counties, have resulted in land fragmentation, loss of ecological connectivity and function, and incompatible land uses; all of which have had a negative impact on water quality and quantity, biodiversity and visibility of the night sky. The mismatch between population and industrial growth and the security of the state's water supply is so disproportionate in wet years that the next deep drought in a much larger, more populated and thirsty Texas is likely to be much more dangerous.
The lowest flow recorded in Barton Springs was 10 cubic feet per second during the drought of the 1950s; a period of drought that lasted a decade and remains the worst in Texas history and the lowest point of the Edwards aquifer springs. The decline in springs and aquifers due to heat, drought and high demand for water highlights the urgent need for conservation districts in Central Texas to prioritize climate-centered management; this could mean reducing pumping to achieve sustainability. But Henry, whose orchard is in that area, is convinced that it's best to be closer to the Gulf Coast with colder summers and warmer winters. State authorities expect that if there is a drought comparable to the most severe ever recorded, then there will be a decrease in water available from aquifers as well as supplies from rivers and other surface water sources over the next 50 years; from 15.2 million acre-feet to 13.6 million acre-feet. This emphasizes how important it is for Texans to conserve water during droughts. In order for orchards to survive during droughts, it is essential for Texans to take steps towards conserving water.
This includes reducing pumping from aquifers and rivers as well as implementing new practices that will make it easier for orchards to survive during droughts. Additionally, Texans should consider relocating their orchards closer to areas with colder summers and warmer winters. By taking these steps towards conserving water during droughts, Texans can ensure that their orchards will remain healthy and productive even during extreme weather conditions.