This could be the time to replace those luscious grass lawns with hardy cactuses.

Low water levels in reservoirs along the Brazos River could mean water restrictions for Galveston County residents as another dry summer looms, Ivan Langford, the Gulf Coast Water Authority’s general manager, said.

According to information from the U.S. Drought Monitor, which is produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Drought Mitigation Center, almost 18 percent of Texas is in exceptional drought. While the hardest hit areas are in Central and North Texas, the drought still has an effect on Galveston County, which is listed as being abnormally dry.

“We rely on two sources of water in the Brazos River — the run of the river and what’s stored in the lakes,” Langford said.

The authority provides water to most of the municipalities, industries and farmers in the area.

As May began, water stored in the lakes along the Brazos River was at the lowest point its been since the drought began about six years ago, Langford said.

“Potentially, this is going to be our toughest year,” he said.

Rice farmers in the area have seen their ability to irrigate curtailed by about 85 percent. If there is no rain in the Brazos Valley, residents in the area can expect to see “a request for some severe reductions in water usage, particularly outdoor water use.”

Langford said if it doesn’t rain before the summer’s out, authorities might have “to ask customers to have zero outdoor watering.”

Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or

(12) comments

Stephen Murphy

Yeah, it looks like it's time to start rethinking having green lawns like they have in other parts of the country. My lawn still hasn't recovered from the last dry spell a couple of years ago. I rarely water my lawn as it is, but it's already showing signs of drought. And, it's not even summer, yet!


If this is not a good enough reason to build a desalination plant, I don't know what is. We always wait for this miricle rain that will fill the river and lakes. Um, It's not going to happen, especially since we have a record amount of horizontal drilling that is also sucking up the water. The summer heat waves have not even begun yet, and we are already talking about water restrictions? There is no reason for that! They should have started building the desalination plant years ago. With the amount of industries in the area, they should be able to make up some of the cost with the sale of the by-products. The longer you wait to build it, the more it will cost you to buy water from other counties and states, just to keep the resoviors at minimum state. If I have to pay $5, $10, $20 more a month to have water, it's better than going without because the reserviors are too low to supply it. Build it already!

Kevin Lang

I can certainly see some immediate value for using combinations of desalinated water, reclaimed water, and purified waste water for industrial and irrigation uses. Many agriculture uses could be adopted with little controversy, too. Drinking water use can be controversial, and, I'm sure would add lots of red tape that would further delay the creation of these plants.

Gary Miller

TRY $50, $75 or $100 more for water from a desal plant. Desalinated water could cast more than electricity. Once built it must be paid for even when not needed which is more likely to be most of the time.
Smarter would real water conservation. Recovering and using AC condensate, home rain storage barrels, drouth resistant landscaping. Using waste treatment plant water for city landscaping or agricultur would make a big difference.
The AC condensate from a 3,000 ft home would be 450 to 550 gallons a month.
A 1/4 inch rain can fill a 55 galon barrel with functioning gutters.

The joker in the forcast is sea breeze thunderstorms and tropical storms we normally get. A few of them in a year can turn a drouth into a wet season.

Kevin Lang

Exactly why I don't advocate throwing a bunch of eggs into the desalinization bucket. I think it's well past time to stop using traditional freshwater supplies for things that aren't going directly into our bodies. I don't know that I've ever heard of cooling towers or landscape plants begging for chlorinated and fluoridated water.

If you build a bunch of desalinization plants, not only is the water produced more expensive than traditional water supplies, but they produce lots of salt. As far as I know, the marketability of that salt is probably not very high, and I haven't heard of anything coming down the line to increase our need for salt.

PD Hyatt

I do wonder if the cities and the big hotels are going to stop their watering.... It seems as if they want citizens to stop their watering yet they continue to water.

Steve Fouga

We're definitely headed toward a more xeric landscape here at the Buckner household. Each spring I fight weeds and each summer I fight drought.

Anyone ever notice that the lantana and Indian blanket on the far east and far west ends of the Island are always green and usually blooming? That tells me it IS possible to have a reasonable-looking yard by going non-traditional. Gravel, wildflowers and native plants for me!

Steve Fouga

And desal plants to. That's it: "Native plants and desal plants." That's my campaign slogan.

Carlos Ponce

The grass used to be greener over the septic tank. Now the weeds are thicker over the septic tank.

George Croix

I simply quit fighting the dollar weeds, and now have a lush green lawn of...crappy weeds...

Carlos Ponce

How is our rainfall doing? Is the drought still on with rain forecast for all week?

Lars Faltskog

LOL - and it's now (7:14 AM Tuesday) raining buckets up in Houston.

Shall we revisit this and we'll soon be able to change the "drought status"?

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