Water conservation is top local concern

Drought roars back in July; city will partner to offer educational programs

By Ken Esten Cooke— While it looked like the drought was breaking in May, it has roared back with a vengeance. July rainfall, at just half an inch, was the lowest in the past 15 years.

Rainfall measurements at the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park Weather Station (from where we receive our front-page readings) has totaled just 9.9 inches this year, barely a third of the expected annual average of 29 inches.

So, the City of Fredericksburg will partner with the sustainability group Fredericksburg Shines and the Fredericksburg Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas to educate and promote water conservation.

One offering will be a custom-made presentation that will be offered to groups that is tailored to its needs and interests. Along with city staff, the talks will include experts on the topics of drip irrigation, water catchment systems, native plants, indoor water conservation and various ways that locals can easily participate to save precious water.

In the months ahead, the city and its partners will sponsor a two-part forum. “Indoor Water Conservation” will be the topic of a Nov. 5 forum at the Hill Country University Center. In the spring, on March 6, “Outdoor Water Conservation” will be the topic.

As education needs to begin early to keep water savings top-of-mind for our youth, the city will partner with Fredericksburg Independent School District to take fourth-graders to Fort Martin Scott for an interdisciplinary education day, which will include water conservation topics and the history of Fredericksburg and the fort. It will emphasize the importance of water from the time of this city’s founding. (All local fourth graders from public and private schools will be invited.)

We are grateful to the city and its partnering organizations for spearheading these efforts. There are a variety of things we all can do to conserve water, and the easiest conservation is water not wasted in the first place.

Fredericksburg’s German heritage stressed conservation and cisterns were commonplace in the Hill Country long before the 2000s. It was a necessity then, and it’s becoming one now, even though most grew up with convenient city plumbing. Mother Nature seems intent on taking us back to our roots and that’s not a bad thing. We hope everyone will take advantage of these educational offerings.

 

SAVE FOR MAY, A SCARCITY OF RAIN

       15-year avg.         2014

Jan.    1.63                   0.00

Feb.    1.49                  0.12

Mar.    2.61                  0.44

Apr.    2.08                   1.06

May    3.59                   6.17

June    2.50                 1.61

July    3.08                   0.50

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