Drought Threatens Texas Oil Boom

From Bloomberg, we learn how dependent the Texas Oil Industry is on rainfall, just like everything else is dependent on rainfall.

The worst Texas drought since record-keeping began 116 years ago may crimp an oil and natural- gas drilling boom as government officials ration water supplies crucial to energy exploration…

The water crisis in Texas, the biggest oil- and gas- producing state in the U.S., highlights a continuing debate in North America and Europe over the impact on water supplies of an oil and gas production technique called hydraulic fracturing. Environmental groups are concerned the so-called fracking method may pose a contamination threat, while farmers in arid regions like south Texas face growing competition for scarce water…

The Eagle Ford’s peculiar geology means it takes three to four times as much water to fracture as the Barnett Shale near Fort Worth, said Mace, of the state water board. Fracking a single Eagle Ford well requires as much as 13 million gallons of water, enough to supply the cooking, washing and drinking needs of 40 adults for an entire year, he said…

About 94 percent of Texas was in a state of severe, extreme or exceptional drought as of June 7, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor compiled by the U.S. Agriculture Department and the National Drought Mitigation Center. The October-through-May period was the state’s driest since record-keeping began in 1895, said Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon…

Much more via Drought Threatens Texas Oil Boom

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Texas Chambers Pass Rainwater Bill

Rainwater Harvesting Bill Passes Both Texas Chambers

By Erika Aguilar (this entire post is a copy of the story from KUT news, link is above)

Rainwater can be harvested and stored in plastic or metal tanks, like this collection tank which provides water used to irrigate a nearby garden.

Photo by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service via Flickr.com http://www.flickr.com/photos/agrilifetoday/4923

Rain barrels and other rain catchment systems could soon be installed on state government buildings.

The rainwater harvesting bill made it through the Texas Legislature this week and is headed to the Governor’s desk. HB 3391 requires that future state buildings that are large enough must have rainwater harvesting systems incorporated in the buildings’ design and construction plans.

State Rep. Doug Miller (R-New Braunfels) authored the bill. It also allows for banks or “financial institutions” to consider lending developers, homeowners or businesses money for projects where rainwater will be the sole source of water supply.

Although there’s no state credit for people or businesses that use rainwater systems, the bill encourages cities and counties to offer incentives to install them. It also prohibits municipalities from denying someone a building permit based on the fact that the builder is using a rainwater system, unless it doesn’t meet standards.

The City of Austin already has a rebate for Austin Water Utility customers or other water districts customers they approve. The rainwater system must be new or being added on to existing system for more water storage. Below are the rebate amounts:

Rebate Amount

≈≈$0.50 per gallon for non-pressurized systems not to exceed 50% of system cost.

≈≈$1.00 per gallon for pressurized systems not to exceed 50% of system cost.

≈≈Total maximum lifetime rebate amount of $5,000 per site.

≈≈Rebate covers materials and labor for dedicated system components including

tank, pad, screens, filters, first-flush, and selected piping installation only, but

does not include gutters, irrigation system components, or backflow preventers

The Hill Country Alliance applauding the bill. The non-profits promotes conservation of natural resources. In a press released about the rainwater harvesting bill, the Hill Country Alliance says installing a rainwater catchment system can be affordable.

Generally, professional installation for a basic rainwater system is about $1.25 per stored gallon, and less if you install it yourself. Adding the water purification system for potable use adds about $1,000 to the total cost

If this weren’t Texas and if droughts weren’t prominent, the amount of water people could conserve would be through the roof. (Get it!) Still some say its worth the conservation effort. If you want to learn more about rainwater harvesting, there’s the Rainwater Revival conference in Dripping Springs you can attend. It’s in October.

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My Water’s On Fire Tonight (The Fracking Song)

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How to test your water for safety in Frac-land

You can find the video version the safety notice here

Disclaimer: Although hydraulic fracturing contamination is linked to symptoms such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, hair loss, itching, and kidney failure, these symptoms are also correlated with exposure to radiation, coal fumes, common chemicals, and even some natural causes. Presence of these symptoms is thus in no way proof positive of exposure to chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process.

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Graphic Illustration of Texas Drought 2000-2011

There is a good graph at the link.

from the link:

Our current drought has ravaged crops and pastures, and is contributing to devastating wildfires in West Texas. Using data from the US Drought Monitor, we are able to show you the history of drought in Texas from 2000 to 2011. The higher the bar, the greater percentage of Texas’ land mass was in drought.

History of Texas Drought 2000-2011 | KUT News.

We need rain and the outlook is for at least three more dry months. Arrrrgh!!

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The Worldwide ‘Thirst’ For Clean Drinking Water : NPR

Excellent Fresh Air interview on water around the world.  I am sure you will learn many new things about water if you read or listen to it.

The Worldwide ‘Thirst’ For Clean Drinking Water : NPR.

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We Need Rain

La Nina is keeping the rainfall out of Central Texas.  This morning there was a bit of thunder but the rainfall was so meager that I could count the drops as they fell.

Here is a piece from the Houston Chronicle describing our plight:

The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows 95 percent of Texas now in a drought, including Harris County. For the first time this year, a large chunk of the county’s northern half is in a severe drought.

“Not since the 2005-2006 drought has so much of the state been designated as at least in a moderate drought,” said John Nielsen-Gammon, the state climatologist and a atmospheric sciences professor at Texas A&M University…

more via  We Need Rainfall

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Tokyo Says Radiation in Water Puts Infants at Risk

As people very involved with helping other people store the healthiest water possible, we were shocked by the news today that Tokyo tap water is a risk to infants because of contamination with radioactive iodine.

Among the reasons, we enjoy our rainwater collection system work is that the natural rain cycle does an incredible job of purifying water so we do not have to worry much about chemical and pharmaceutical pollution.  In the central Texas area, particularly outside of the cities, the rain comes down with very little particulate pollution.  What little bit there is can be easily taken care with the typical multistage filter and ultra-violet light system we install.

At my home it is a nice secure feeling to have clean water at the tap.  I can only imagine how anxious Japanese parents with infants and small children feel today.


from the New York Times

“…Ei Yoshida, head of water purification for the Tokyo water department, said at a televised news conference that infants in Tokyo and surrounding areas should not drink tap water. He said iodine-131 had been detected in water samples at a level of 210 becquerels per liter, about a quart. The recommended limit for infants is 100 becquerels per liter. For adults, the recommended limit is 300 becquerels. (The measurement unit is named for Henri Becquerel, one of the discoverers of radioactivity.)…”

We truly hope that this problem will be solved very soon.

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From toilets to tap: How we get tap water from sewage

I would rather collect rainwater but click this for an alternative.

From toilets to tap: How we get tap water from sewage – USATODAY.com.

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Why I like my rainwater system

There has been very little rain so far this year and the dreaded word ‘drought’ is being heard on a more regular basis.

Several weeks ago, I checked the level in my 20,000 gallon ferro-cement cistern and it was about 1/2 full.  This means that we  have about 10,000 gallons in storage.  At this time there are just two of us living at home with the occasional adult child who comes to visit.

We can expect to use between 2,000 to 2,500 gallons per month so we can make it through 4 to 5 months without any rain at all.  Truth is we will get some rain even during a drought and I think we can depend on at least 5 to 6 inches of rain between now and July.

With 5 inches of rain falling on a 2500 sq ft roof, we should at least get at least another (5 x 2500 x .6=)  7500 gallons which should carry us another 3 months.  And we should be able to collect another 6,000 gallons during those 3 months which will carry us another 2.33 months, etc., etc.

Rainwater is wonderful: great for drinking, cooking and bathing.  It is also easy on the appliances.

btw. here is a link to the Texas Drought Monitor Map

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