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Unpredictable droughts lead to cities being placed under constant water restrictions: 'It is troubling that we're still so many feet below normal'

"We have to be prepared."

"We have to be prepared."

Photo Credit: iStock

Drought conditions across the American southwest have led cities in Texas to implement water restrictions, KWTX reported. Officials and residents remain at odds in terms of how to proceed, with the unpredictable conditions likely to continue indefinitely.

What is happening?

According to the National Integrated Drought Information System, "the 22-year-long southwest North American megadrought is the region's driest in at least 1,200 years." These conditions have been brought on by changing weather patterns fueled by the overheating of our planet, largely because of our society's reliance on dirty energy sources like gas and oil.

Although Lake Waco and Belton Lake in Central Texas have recently started to fill up, state and city officials are worried that with summer on the way, that will not last.

During recent water shortages, "people were really having to think about how much water they were using, because it's a shared resource," said Jessica Emmett Sellers, Public Information Officer for the city of Waco.

Why is this concerning?

Even with levels that are not currently catastrophic, Belton Lake is far below where it should be.

"It is troubling that we're still so many feet below normal and the projected forecast is that as we enter summer and the fall, we're supposed to be back in a real dry spell," said Ricky Garrett, the general manager for the Bell County Water Control and Improvement District.

If Texas runs out of lake water, cities may begin to lean too heavily on pumping groundwater from aquifers, which can have severe environmental consequences — not least among them, causing the ground to sink and destroying people's homes.

Meanwhile, many Texans are not treating the issue with the seriousness that it demands. Homeowners associations are still demanding that people water their grass lawns, and the state's over 900 golf courses are still guzzling up massive amounts of water.

What is being done about it?

Waco was, until recently, considering implementing year-round water restrictions. That issue has been tabled, however.

The best answer that Texas officials seem to have have right now is vaguely encouraging people to be mindful of their water usage.

"We know that in Texas it's gonna get hot again and it's gonna get dry again, so we have to be prepared for that, and so encouraging people to be mindful of that all the time," Sellers told KWTX.

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