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Crosby asks residents to conserve water

WORST DROUGHT IN TEXAS HISTORY

By LEWIS SPEARMAN
NORTHEAST HARRIS COUNTY– The worst drought in Texas history calls with it some implications for good citizens to cooperate with local water districts asking not to water lawns and use as little water as needed for now. The impact on Lake Houston is evident to anyone crossing the lake on FM 1960.
Texas is now in the midst of its most severe one-year drought on record, according to John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist and professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University.
Sgt. Tolan Harding of the Lake Houston Marine Unit stated “I’ve been out here for 6 years, this is the lowest I have seen Lake Houston. Every day is a new low for me.”
The lake measured down 7 feet that day.

“There is not enough water to recreate in anymore. It’s getting more and more dangerous and if you don’t hurt yourself, you’re going to do some damage to your boat.” stated Harding, looking at old railroad pilings emerging from the middle of the lake.
Robert Fidecoat for Crosby Municipal Utility District said in response to the question of whether or not warnings were going to be hung on the doors of residents, “As far as the tags being hung out on each resident’s door in Crosby Municipal Utility District, I don’t think that is going to happen. I don’t believe we are in that position yet. We are going to have a meeting a week from Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss it again but in the meanwhile I want to pass on to everyone please don’t water grass. I drive around every once in a while and I see people watering grass throughout the district.”
As to what change in status the Board will make? Fidecoat answered, “The decision will be made on August 16. We only have a certain amount of surface water and I don’t know when we will be cleared to go to well water. Even the City of Houston has not gone to well water yet. I think we have about 2 months to go in this same situation.”
The City of Houston is pumping record amounts from Lake Houston and is at 92% capacity now. Officials from the City of Houston Public Works indicate that the Lake is about six or seven feet from exposing one the intakes for the City of Houston. Alvin Wright indicates that the city would prefer to keep about a three to five foot buffer over the intake so they can continue to draw off water from Lake Houston. He says the City of Houston would first call for a release from Lake Conroe Dam. “That would send about 150 gallons a day down the San Jacinto River to replenish Lake Houston.”
The last time Houston called for such a release was back in 1988 and such a decision is still about four weeks away, according to officials. They say the lake is down 6.2 feet.
Crosby remains under moderate conservation warning. Crosby’s surface water comes from Lake Houston but about 92% of City of Houston’s water comes from the Trinity River and Highlands purchases its water from the City of Baytown that takes its water from the Trinity River.
Nielsen-Gammon reports that July 2011 was the warmest month ever recorded statewide for Texas, with data going back to 1895. Average temperature of 87.2 degrees broke the previous record of 86.5 degrees set in 1998. The June average temperature of 85.2 was a record for that month and now ranks fifth warmest overall.
Rainfall totals were also unusually light across the state. The July monthly total of 0.72 inches ranks third driest, surpassed by the 0.69 inches recorded in both 1980 and 2000. This is the fifth consecutive month in which precipitation totals were among the 10 driest recorded.