Some weather experts say the record Texas drought not only shows no signs of letting up any time soon—indeed, this may be only the start of a multi-year drought that could eclipse the longevity of the 1950s drought.
That's the word from Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon at Texas A&M University, College Station, who reports that virtually the entire state can be characterized in either severe or exceptional drought (the worst category).
Nevertheless, the award-winning Texas Irrigation Expo is back to help farmers and ranchers do more—with less—by showcasing innovations in on-farm water conservation tools and techniques. This year's Expo is Dec. 9-10 at the McAllen Convention Center in South Texas. Deputy Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Drew DeBerry of the Texas Department of Agriculture will be keynote speaker. Farmers, irrigation district managers and board members, others in the agriculture and irrigation industries, and anyone interested in water conservation, are encouraged to attend.
This past year has been the worst one-year stretch of drought in Texas history, with agricultural losses estimated at more than $5.2 billion. Given the current climatic conditions—especially the development of another La Nina in the Pacific, Nielsen-Gammon says "This is looking more and more like a multi-year drought."
That's terrible news but all signs indicate that is the case.
"The same ocean conditions that seem to have contributed to the 1950s drought have been back for several years now and may last another 5 to 15 years," he laments.
But the Texas Irrigation Expo will look at every way to stretch agricultural water supplies with the latest technologies and conservation management. Topics will include rainwater harvesting, conservation initiatives, irrigation technology and techniques, water-thrifty landscapes, and water economics.
The Harlingen Irrigation District is coordinating the event. Admission is free, but pre-registration is requested by calling 512-477-5445 or you can register or get more information online at www.TexasIrrigationExpo.org.