High water usage and drought conditions this year could lead to water shortages in 2012 for Lower Rio Grande Valley growers, said Dr. Juan Enciso, a Texas AgriLife Research water engineer in a recent article in AgriLife Today.
“It’s ironic that in 2010, South Texas was in danger of Katrina-like flooding, and now we’re looking at limited irrigation in 2012, unless weather patterns change drastically,” Enciso said.
The Valley’s flood control system barely withstood the massive floodwaters brought on by Hurricane Alex, which made landfall in northern Mexico in late June, followed by a rainy tropical depression, Enciso said.
“The good news was that the rain events of 2010 filled our reservoirs behind Falcon and Amistad dams,” he said. “Unfortunately, that was followed by a severe drought in both Texas and Mexico this year, one of the driest ever. Record amounts of water were used to the point that growers will likely face rationing in 2012.” Agriculture in South Texas used just over 1 million acre feet of water this year compared to only 519,000 acre feet in 2010, Enciso said.
Total water use, which includes municipal use, was about 1.4 million acre feet this year, compared to only 731,000 acre feet in 2010.
To read the full article in AgriLife Today, click here.