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Mason County News
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City Corner
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 • Posted July 20, 2011

I suspect you are tired of me writing about water issues in Mason, and I am certainly tired of having to emphasize that point, but this week I have some good news and can answer some questions we are getting asked frequently. We have been talking about water conservation since April here in Mason, and we are seeing some payoff even with the continuing heat and dry weather. There is one well that the City has abandoned for actual water use, but we use it to measure the water levels and recharge rates, and recently we received up-to-date information and six months of data. What we see is that the water level is holding between 119 and 124 feet below the surface, as compared to a average of 116, which is not much drop even for the middle of the summer. Our City wells are generally 450 to 500 feet deep so we have no concern about running out of water soon. We do see a longer recharge rate, which is the time it takes for the water table to recover from heavy pumping, and while it is about twice as long as previous it too is not a big problem. We still need to be aware of our individual water uses and concerned about water wastage anywhere around town, but with reasonable water conservation we should be able to outlast this drought.Recently National Weather Service experts said in Austin that our drought conditions “are not likely to improve drastically anytime soon,” and in “West Texas it would take 1.5 times to twice the average seasonal precipitation over the next three months to end the drought. Over Ninety percent of Texas is in extreme to exceptional drought” and NOAA’s Klaus Wolter said “that this winter could be dry with a La Nina rebound, which is more likely than not.” Another source I have found shows that a tree-ring growth study indicates that prior to the 1950’s drought, this area suffered harsher dry periods in 1713 – 1719 and 1739 – 1749 as well as 1804 – 1808, and that is the driest periods since 1500! Furthermore, those previous harsh droughts came before there were communities of people in the Hill Country depending on the water tables to provide their everyday needs. I just tell you all of that to emphasize that this summer with the heat and dry conditions is a very distinct and remarkable drought, and furthermore I am very pleased to talk about how you are responding and working hard to conserve our precious water resources. At the City office we keep daily logs of how much water is pumped out of the City wells to supply the needs of our residents. During the winter months we average between 18 and 20 Million gallons per month in demand and easily supply that need. We began talking about water conservation in April when we saw the demand increasing, and in May and June we pumped over 30 Million gallons each month, which we seldom reach even in August. We began more restrictive water measures in late June, and projecting to the end of this month we expect the water demand to reduce back to 28 Million gallons. The conservation you are helping with looks to conserve Two Million gallons this month, even with the continuing hot and dry weather!! Your yard may begin looking dry and lose some of the green that you have enjoyed in the past, but it is critical that we protect the water sources we have, to meet the needs of our entire community. I appreciate the ways in which all of our residents have individually helped to conserve our water, and I am proud that while we face some challenges in Mason, we are not as critically close to being without water as some other communities. Your conservation measures are working, and I appreciate your help in doing the little things every day that will protect our needs for months to come. Again I can say with pride, together we are working to make Mason the very best hometown in Texas!!

Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley

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