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Old 06-18-2009, 03:20 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
3,542 posts, read 7,539,235 times
Reputation: 3755

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First, let's begin with some good news. For the first time in quite a few days, the San Antonio International Airport stopped short of reaching the century-mark for the high. Instead, our high was a balmy and lovely winter-like (well maybe only in South Texas) 99F.

Now back to reality: this streak of hot and dry weather does not look like it is going to end anytime in the foreseeable future. The culprit? A powerful and incredibly stubborn ridge of high pressure that will not go away. Storm systems keep riding around the high to our north and to our south. But, unfortunately for our friends up north, many of the systems are providing plenty of severe weather. Large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes have been occurring nearly daily in the upper Midwest, and today will not be an exception. More storms are expected to fire up in the upper Midwest and head towards the Ohio Valley. However, again for us, we will remain hot and dry. Did I say that already?

The problem is... we need rain BADLY. The Edwards Aquifer is dropping at a rapid rate. Here is information regarding the Aquifer elevation at the J-17 Well here in Bexar County obtained from the Edwards Aquifer Authority since Saturday when we entered Stage 2 Water Restrictions Criteria:

June 13 - 649.6'
June 14 - 648.2'
June 15 - 648.7'
June 16 - 647.2'
June 17 - 646.0'

and right now at 4:15 AM, the aquifer stands at 644.91' where it's been sitting since 1:45 AM.

The trigger for Stage 3 Water Restrictions is 640 feet above sea level. At this rate, we'll be there in a matter of a few days. The water rules then are much stricter, and you can find out more about them here: San Antonio Water System: Stage 3 Drought Restrictions. The biggest change once Stage 3 is implemented will be the fact that you can only water with a sprinkler once every other week, instead of weekly.

It is imperative that we as a community conserve our water, it's a precious resource. And in droughts like these, you cannot save enough.

Looking in the long-range, I'm not overly optimistic, but I am seeing some possible changes. One of the models wants to push the ridge further north, which will help bring us in the path of the easterly trade winds. Under such scenarios, any disturbance in the Gulf will be pushed up in our direction bringing us nice and healthy tropical downpours. Right now the model indicates any such chance for storms around the first week of July... which is still quite a ways away. But, at this rate, mentioning anything is a good thing and something we can keep our fingers crossed to see verify.

Other than that, keep cool and conserve as much water as possible to slow the drop of the aquifer.
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Old 06-18-2009, 04:43 AM
 
Location: San Antonio
323 posts, read 743,684 times
Reputation: 205
Thanks for the update. When was the last time San Antonio was at Stage 3 restrictions?
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:20 AM
 
30,105 posts, read 47,335,107 times
Reputation: 16044
when will this long-term drought take effect with construction changes--like requiring developers to construct subdivisions/developments with water catchments to use for watering open areas--
prohibiting any landscaping except hardscape in front yards
things like that
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:33 AM
 
299 posts, read 538,655 times
Reputation: 209
You can still water by hand at any time- this is what I'll be doing.
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:59 AM
djw
 
951 posts, read 2,575,757 times
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I don't understand the hand watering thing. If you've got a veggie garden that you're feeding your family with, sure. And MAYBE I get it if you've got some heirloom rose bushes or something. But to stand there and hand water a lawn in Texas, in a drought just baffles the mind. It's TEXAS. It's a DROUGHT. Things aren't supposed to be green and lush.
To be honest, when I drive around and see the lush, green lawns my first thought isn't "how beautiful", it's "how wasteful" it's obvious they don't give a crap about the water.

I've lived in areas (other countries) where the water is shut off for certain hours throughout the day to help conserve during times of shortages. I've lived in rural areas where we had a well that has gone dry. It SUCKS to run out of water or not have it available for neccesary uses.

People keep saying that "the aquifer will never go dry", that may be true, but it will get to a point where the water is unfit (for a period of time) and that's what the concern is, if I understand correctly. After doing some reading here: Hydrogeology of the Edwards Aquifer there are also concerns for endangered species and recreation uses (which ultimately affect economy). Not to mention that it gets more expensive to pump the water from such low levels.

But...to each his own and to heck with the greater good, I guess.

-----off my soapbox-----
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:13 AM
 
299 posts, read 538,655 times
Reputation: 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by djw View Post
I don't understand the hand watering thing. If you've got a veggie garden that you're feeding your family with, sure. And MAYBE I get it if you've got some heirloom rose bushes or something. But to stand there and hand water a lawn in Texas, in a drought just baffles the mind. It's TEXAS. It's a DROUGHT. Things aren't supposed to be green and lush.
To be honest, when I drive around and see the lush, green lawns my first thought isn't "how beautiful", it's "how wasteful" it's obvious they don't give a crap about the water.

I've lived in areas (other countries) where the water is shut off for certain hours throughout the day to help conserve during times of shortages. I've lived in rural areas where we had a well that has gone dry. It SUCKS to run out of water or not have it available for neccesary uses.

People keep saying that "the aquifer will never go dry", that may be true, but it will get to a point where the water is unfit (for a period of time) and that's what the concern is, if I understand correctly. After doing some reading here: Hydrogeology of the Edwards Aquifer there are also concerns for endangered species and recreation uses (which ultimately affect economy). Not to mention that it gets more expensive to pump the water from such low levels.

But...to each his own and to heck with the greater good, I guess.

-----off my soapbox-----
Just moved into my new house and I'm not gonna let all the money I spent making my lawn look good go to waste. I'll be watering by hand in the evenings.
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & San Antonio, TX
790 posts, read 3,621,997 times
Reputation: 516
Quote:
Originally Posted by djw View Post
To be honest, when I drive around and see the lush, green lawns my first thought isn't "how beautiful", it's "how wasteful" it's obvious they don't give a crap about the water.
Normally I'd agree with you... but there are many ways to keep a green lawn in the TX summer heat without draining the aquifer. Probably the easiest way is to connect a simple rainwater collection system to your air conditioning unit(s) and collect the condensation. One of my clients does this at his small business and collects nearly 200 gallons a week... that can keep a typical yard mighty green through a drought like this! Water catchment systems don't have to be elaborate or expensive, and if you're on a budget you can even build a simple one yourself from inexpensive materials. If you're interested in that, get in touch with Joe Barfield, green realtor extraordinaire - he just took a master class in building home catchment systems (in fact, he even mentioned water conservation in his last music/art/architecture email newsletter Joe's List).
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Old 06-18-2009, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Charleston, SC
5,615 posts, read 12,832,748 times
Reputation: 2534
I'm not going for 'green' with the lawn. Just 'not dead.' The trees I planted on the other hand - I'll hand water all they need to help establish them.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:08 AM
 
299 posts, read 538,655 times
Reputation: 209
Quote:
Originally Posted by scuba steve View Post
I'm not going for 'green' with the lawn. Just 'not dead.' The trees I planted on the other hand - I'll hand water all they need to help establish them.
I let a lawn die once...what a mistake that was. Nothing would bring it back other than tilling it all up and starting from scratch again.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Universal City, Texas
3,109 posts, read 8,717,923 times
Reputation: 1785
And I'm not about to let my 40 rose bushes go thirsty.
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