KLST Special - Concho Valley Drought Outlook
By: Jeremy Linder
“If we rely on the weather, we're at the mercy of the weather, and it will be fickle and it will go up and down and we'll have these extended periods of drought. Nothing unusual, it's not related to global warming or anything like that it's just the nature of where we live here in Texas."
According to the national weather service the Concho Valley needs about 9 to 12 inches of rain in month to suspend the drought ---which seems unlikely with our wettest months already behind us. But keep in mind --- this is only a prediction.
"It’s an outlook, it's the best we can do on our meteorological knowledge but four or five big events in a row in San Angelo in the winter that produce you know four. Five inches each could really make a big difference for us."
The difficulty is how much water is really needed. Before the reservoirs can fill up the soil must contain water as well.
"If it’s really dry a lot of the rain goes into the soil and not much runs off. if it doesn't run off it can't go into the reservoir. So we really want the soil to be moist to begin with then have the run off into the reservoir, and it has to be in that reservoir's basin."
In the meantime city officials are conserving water, expecting the drought to continue.
"What we're seeing what we're preparing for is a continuation of the drought looks like the weather patterns have changed, hopefully for the better for this fall and throughout the winter. Hopefully throughout next summer. But what they're telling us long-term is we're ten years in a 30 year drought cycle."
"To face those problems we're always looking ahead, we're always preparing for the next drought. we're not out of the current drought that we're in, but when we do get rain we're always looking, because we're always going to be droughty more than we're going to be wet."
This means the city of San Angelo must also prepare for our reservoirs to stay dry and look elsewhere for water.
"We’re also looking at waste water reuse. I have some engineering firm coming to talk to us about possible uses of our recline water. We have three reservoirs now that are basically empty. I think a ground water supply is the future for San Angelo."
With an uncertain outlook, the best idea is to plan for the worst and conserve. But know in the end a drought is never infinite, there is a beginning and there is an end.
"At the worst state of drought, where it's absolutely at its lowest, worst state it's been in for the entire drought period, it's always broken. Which means the drought itself is not controlling the termination of the drought or the prolonging, it always ends and it ends by the meteorological side of it by weather events and flow patterns that comes through."
Jeremy Linder, KLST News.