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Drought and the Water Supply

The Drought

The current drought is generally considered to have begun in March 2008 and is approaching the seven-year -nark. While there has been some significant rainfall in the city during the last year and a half, rain has not fallen in the watersheds in any manner to significantly increase reservoir storage.

This is not your grandfather's drought

A How does the current drought compare to the famous Texas drought of the 1950s? The ten-year-long drought of the 1950s (actually 1947-1957) is generally considered to be the worst drought in recorded state history. It was long ago designated as the "Drought of Record" and s used as the basis to measure the severity of droughts. This drought is rivaling the 1950s Drought of Record.

Different Measures and Categorizations of Droughts

There are multiple ways to categorize and compare the severity of droughts. For example, the US Drought Monitor currently describes Kerr County as "abnormally dry" but the state's Emergency Disaster Proclamation declares that the Kerrville area is experiencing "exceptional drought." These different terms may lead to some misunderstanding among the public, but all are important in understanding the drought and its impacts to the fullest extent possible.

Kerrville is most concerned about what affects water supply. Therefore, while the utility monitors and incorporates information from these other drought designation systems, the most important readily quantifiable indicators of drought severity to Kerrville are the amount of water flowing into Guadalupe River and the Trinity Reservoir, and the combined storage volume in our ASR Wells.

Water Supply

85% of Kerrville's water supply comes from the Guadalupe River

10% of Kerrville's water supply comes from the Lower Trinity Aquifer

5% of Kerrville's water supply comes from our own innovative underground water storage system called ASR Wells.

The City of Kerrville has the responsibility to ensure that the citizens of Kerrville have an adequate and safe water supply—which includes making every effort to conserve that water supply. Because Kerrville planned ahead, the City has Aqua Storage Recovery (ASR) wells, groundwater, and surface water rights that amount to more than twice as much water as we currently use. A core element of securing Kerrville's water supply is our ASR wells.

Kerrville's water supply remains secure, but the drought has required dramatically increased conservation and drought response from Kerrville as well as an increased emphasis on the management of the river.

The Guadalupe River and the Trinity Reservoir vary in their level and stored water volume depending on the amount of rain, inflows, evaporation, and releases from directed by Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

When water is being diverted by TCEQ for other users downstream taking water from the Guadalupe, that water is lost.

Therefore, to insure adequate future water supplies, the City of Kerrville needs to add two additional ASR wells.

Understanding TTHM

When Chlorine is used for the disinfection of water, it reacts with organic matter in the water and creates a by-product. This by-product is called Total GTrichlomethane (TTHM) and is the most common by-product formed during the disinfection process.

When drought conditions and extreme high temperatures exist, the water becomes warmer than usual and requires more chlorine to be used for disinfection.