Statewide reservoir storage continued its run of weekly increases, now at 20 weeks; however, some reservoirs continue to be low (for example, Abilene area: 28%; Midland-Odessa: 23%; San Angelo: 15%). According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a tiny bit of drought still hangs on in the Panhandle.
Some notes from Dr. Wentzel:
· For the second week in a row, no change in the U.S. Drought Monitor map for Texas. The most recent map for conditions as of July 7th continues to show a small patch (only ¼ of 1 percent of the state) of Moderate (D1) Drought in the Panhandle.
· Statewide conservation storage was up a little more than 100,000 acre-feet in the last week or about 0.3 percentage points. That extends the current streak of weekly improvements to 20. Storage is now slightly above normal for this time of year (almost 1½ percentage points), more than 17½ percentage points better than a year ago.
· As of Thursday, July 9th, conservation storage was up in 7, unchanged in 1, and down in 1 of 9 climate regions with reservoirs across the state. The only decrease this week was in the Trans Pecos, down 0.7 percentage points. The largest gains were in the Low Rolling Plains and High Plains regions, up 4.9 and 0.5 percentage points, respectively.
· Conservation storage (as a percentage of capacity) increased in 8 of the 20 municipal reservoir systems that we track across the state, remained unchanged in 6, and decreased in 6. El Paso and Nacogdoches had the largest decreases for the week, down 1 and 0.9 percentage points, respectively. Abilene had the largest gain, up more than 5 percentage points. Three additional systems (Midland-Odessa, San Angelo, and Wichita Falls) were up 1 percentage point or more. Amarillo was up ½ a percentage point. All other changes were less than ½ a percentage point.
· The National Weather Services’ Drought Outlook for the month of July is the same as last week. It anticipates no new areas of drought developing in Texas during the month. Also, the last pocket of drought (in the Panhandle) is expected to be removed.
· Nine climate regions of the state no longer have drought on their landscape, as reported by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Four of these regions (Low Rolling Plains, North Central, East Texas, and Upper Coast) also have reservoir storages at or above normal for this time of year and are therefore considered free from water supply drought. Water supply reservoirs associated with six regions (High Plains, Trans Pecos, Edwards Plateau, South Central, South, and Lower Valley) continue to have storage levels below normal for this time of year. Only one region of the state (High Plains) continues to have localized drought on the landscape, as reported by the US Drought Monitor.