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Local Color and Culture, The Business of Real Estate

You won’t enjoy much of this post …

You won’t enjoy reading most of this post, but I promise some encouraging news at the end, and in subsequent posts.

Almost the entire central and western United States remains in drought:

Late winter snows may help the northern plains somewhat, but it takes a LOT of water to overcome Extreme and Exceptional drought conditions.  This one season will not be enough.

The same situation persists in Texas:

More than 99% of Texas is experiencing some level of drought, and about 90% of the state is in Extreme or Exceptional drought.  The drought in all of Central Texas is rated Severe or Extreme.  Travis County and most of the population in the Austin metropolitan area depend on the Lower Colorado River and the Highland Lakes system, where inflows reached incredibly low levels during the worst year so far, 2011:

Yes, you read that correctly:  inflows in 2011 were just 45% of the lowest previous year, and barely more than 10% of the long-term average.  At the same time, the population boom in the Austin area continues, so the need for water resources is truly dire.  For comparison, here is a look at the combined storage in Lakes Buchanan and Travis (the only variable-level lakes in the system):

The last time we saw stored water this low in our reservoirs was in the mid-1960s.  According to Wikipedia, here is what has happened in the Austin metro area during that time:

Census Pop.
1960 301,261
1970 398,938 32.4%
1980 585,051 46.7%
1990 846,227 44.6%
2000 1,249,763 47.7%
2010 1,716,289 37.3%
Est. 2011 1,783,519 3.9%

The population of the Austin metropolitan area finished 2012 a little north of 1.8 million, so there is now about 5 times the population as 1965, with the same water supply!

There is hope, though!  This year the Texas legislature will finally fund the State Water Plan!  More on that shortly in another post.

About Bill Morris, Realtor

Many years of business experience (high tech, client service, business organization and start-up, including almost 20 years in real estate) tell me that service is the key to success and I look forward to serving you. I represent both buyers and sellers throughout the Austin metropolitan area, which means first-hand market knowledge is brought to bear on serving your needs. Learn more about my background and experience, my commitment to my clients, my profession, and to the real estate industry at


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