A Texas town runs out of water, will we see more?

Spicewood, Texas, a small community on Lake Travis, is precariously close to becoming the state’s first community to run out of drinking water during this historic drought.  On Monday, under dark clouds and with rain falling, Spicewood got its first delivery of 8,000-gallons of water after it became clear local wells could no longer produce enough water to meet the needs of the 1,100 residents.

Several communities in Texas have come close to running out of water during 2011, the driest year in Lone Star State history, but until now none had to truck in water.

For more than a year, nearly the entire state of Texas has been in some stage of severe or exceptional drought. Rain has been so scarce lakes across the state have been drying up. One town near Waco, Groesbeck, bought water from a rock quarry and built a seven-mile pipeline through a state park to get water. Some communities on Lake Travis moved their intake pipes into deeper water. And Houston started getting water from an alternative, farther away reservoir when Lake Houston ran too low.

Although it has started to rain more this winter, it is not enough to fill the state’s arid rivers and lakes.  Austin, Tx still remains nearly 20 inches below normal rainfall for the past 12 months, so we are talking about rainfall events of 20 inches plus, basically flood events, to bring the lake levels up.

Under the current long term weather predictions, we are not likely to see such an extreme weather event as la Nina keeps its hold on Texas, bringing dryer than normal conditions through the spring.  2012 is going to be a difficult year for the Lone Star state.