Lack of rain may force city to use groundwater again

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

July 25, 2013 at 2:25 a.m.
Updated July 26, 2013 at 2:26 a.m.

The Guadalupe River may be up, but concerns for the ongoing drought have not waned.

Alina Nieves, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said there is no rain expected until the middle of next week.

While Victoria's average yearly rainfall is 41.22 inches, so far, the area has seen 13.04 inches, she said.

For the month, 3.48 inches of rain have fallen on Victoria. The average for July, including 116 years of data, is 4.18 inches, she said.

Public Works Director Lynn Short said the city stopped using groundwater exchange Saturday because the river had reached a high flow level.

But by Thursday, the flow was teetering at the point where the groundwater will need to be used again, Short said.

He added the changeover may come as soon as Friday morning.

The practice involves pumping groundwater into the river to replace the river water that is being drawn.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality requires the next stage of the drought plan - restricting the days residents can water - when groundwater exchange is used.

Once the City Council votes to come into compliance with the state drought guidelines, the city could be in Stage 3 by the end of August, Short said.

If that happens, the river would need to "come up and stay up for 14 consecutive days," Short said. "That keeps us from bouncing in and out of the various stages."

"I'm hopeful that weather patterns will bring us some much needed rain, and we won't have to go into Stage 3. We'll just have to see," Short said. "We have to prepare for it in case we don't get rain."



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