Warnings that '32 state water agencies' risk running out of water by August got a lot of publicity this week, amid indications that this indicated that the state was running out of water. But the head of the Water Supply Division of the Texas Department of Environmental Quality says that is far from the case.
"Actually, this is about a running average that we have been having for about the past year," Linda Brookins told 1200 WOAI news on Friday.
She says the designation is an indication to the state that a company's water supplies are dangerously low. At that point, the state steps in to acquire new sources of water.
"That allows out agency and other agencies that work together redistribute our resources to make sure they don't run out of water," she said. "That is the goal."
She says the list of water agencies which are running short of water 'ebb and flow.'
"New systems come on, old systems go off, and we're managing right around that number right now."
She says when a water system is placed on the list, that allows other state agencies to help, but local agencies have to come up with new water sources.
"It allows us to expedite project reviews, we help get networked with funding agencies to help them drill a new well."
She says one example of how this process works is Brookins worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to get permission to run a water pipe across the bottom of a corps managed lake. She says the TCEQ can also expedite the process of drilling new water wells.
"We have learned a lot since the 2011 drought," she said. "This may be another summer like 2011, and we are taking steps to make sure we can work with water systems who have notified us."
She says some remedies involve trucking in water, at least for a short term.
"We have learned how to work and network with other agencies, and we have gotten very creative about how to develop new sources. We are primed and ready to deal with this summer, and we are not going to relax until we have done our best to prevent systems from running out of water."