Advocate editorial board opinion: Drought causes safety issues as well as water depletion

By the Advocate Editorial Board
July 25, 2011 at 2:25 a.m.

Going down, down, down. Our lake levels are slowly and regularly dropping, and that presents problems, not just ones challenging our drinking water supply, but causing safety issues as well.

For example, Texas' total reservoir capacity is slipping, and here is a four-day accounting that demonstrates how fast it is dropping: Friday, 68.59-percent full; Saturday, 68.46-percent full; Sunday, 68.35-percent full; Monday, 68.27-percent full.

The Coleto Creek Reservoir was 78.29-percent full; and Lake Texana was 56.55-percent full on Monday, according to the Texas Water Development Board.

While lake (and river) levels drop, recreation becomes more of a challenge. Where once the depth was sufficient to keep boats and watercraft above rocks or other obstructions, now, boaters, kayakers and tubers need to be careful and vigilant to avoid damaging watercraft, as well as themselves.

Remember to think like a lifeguard because you won't find any of those on the lakes or rivers to help you if you find yourself in trouble. You should wear tennis shoes to protect your feet from sharp rocks on lake or river bottoms.

While water recreation is changing because of the drought, animal habits are shifting, too. Animals such as deer, wild hog, raccoons and others are congregating more along highways in our area to get at the grass there or possibly in search of water. Drivers should particularly be careful and cautious at night when these mammals venture to the roadside.

Here in Victoria, water usage is down about 16 percent. Stage 2 water restrictions and residents' compliance are the reasons for the reduction of water usage, according to Lynn Short, the city's public works director.

Short said he didn't think the city would have to go to Stage 3.

"We're doing pretty well right now, and I think we'll be OK," he said.

Awareness of the dangers that exist because of the drought is key to remaining safe. Adhering to water restrictions will ensure our supply of water.

With that said, we can all pray for an end to this drought.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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