Ghost of 1950s Drought Haunts Texas in 2015

Lake Arrowhead was built in the 1960s to supply water to the city of Wichita Falls near the Texas-Oklahoma line. For the last several years, drought has depleted what was once a popular destination for recreation.

As of this spring, the reservoir at Lake Arrowhead as about 20 percent full. Like many of the state’s reservoirs, Lake Arrowhead was born out of the 1950s drought, which is the worst of record. In addition to dams, the drought of the 1950s set in place much of the state’s current water plan.

“The current drought that we are in has triggered the same reaction in the legislature to put in place programs to meet future supply,” Bill West with the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority said.

Many are now facing the possibility that parts of our state may be facing a drought worse than what was experienced in the 50s. In Wichita Falls, city leaders say without conservation and reusing treated wastewater, there likely wouldn't be any water in Lake Arrowhead.

"We're in a new drought of record so now we do show a demand and a need for additional supply,” Russell Schreiber, Director of Public Works, said.

Cities across much of the state, including those large and small in Central Texas, are struggling to adjust to this changing need for water.

“This problem exists all over the state of Texas. Literally all over the state of Texas and there're deep, deep concerns,” Hays County Judge Bert Cobb said.

More than half of the water used in Texas goes to agriculture. Like in the 1950s, without adequate water, our jobs and our way of life could be threatened.

In this New Texas, the way we view water is going to have to change.

"If the good Lord would've intended for them people up there in San Antonio to have St. Augustine grass he would have planted it there and would've given them enough water to water it,” fisherman Wesley Blevins said.

In the second part of Russell Wilde’s New Texas look on water, he shows us how state law governs the use of different types of water and the fights that are brewing over the water that lies beneath the ground.

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