Y2K Predictions Revisited (link only)

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-- Ken Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), March 03, 2000


Let's look at this and evaluate how negative performance in any variable you mention may affect this community (in the tradition of the cut and paste impaired):Fair use etc. By the way, I performed the cut and paste at 8:13 pm 030300 from the ST web site-note the date on this article:


Updated: Thursday, Mar. 2, 2000 at 18:34 CST

Dry boots indicate how critical water situation is in Electra By Stephen Hawkins Associated Press ELECTRA, Texas -- The dry bottoms of T.O. Simpson's work boots are an indication of just how critical the water situation is in Electra. After examining a portion of Lake Electra where not so long ago he would have been submerged in water, the small town's water plant manager climbs back up the bank without getting his boots wet.

The lake is at less than 20 percent of capacity, and there is only about a six-month supply of water left without substantial rains. For a town of 3,100 residents that depends on the 731-acre lake as its primary source of water, it is a desperate situation.

"That's the only way to explain it," said Glen Branch, a city commissioner who oversees water operations.

The levels of lakes and reservoirs that provide water for communities throughout North Texas have steadily dropped as a result of the driest decade on record. There are water concerns throughout the area, but none as critical as in Electra, located about 30 miles west of Wichita Falls.

Thunderstorms on Thursday provided some temporary hope. But much more rain is needed.

"If it falls in the metropolitan area, and people see it running down the street, the lake level doesn't come up much," said Ron Glenn, general manager of the Red River Authority, which consults with local governments on water issues in the area. "And when it rains, the ground is so dry and porous, it soaks it up like a sponge."

Lake Kickapoo and Lake Arrowhead, which are owned by Wichita Falls and supply the city and smaller customers, are at about half capacity.

Glenn considers the situation critical but says none of the 65 entities the Red River Authority serves is in immediate danger of running dry.

Forecasters at the authority predict that the abnormally dry weather will continue. Just 240 inches of rain fell during the 1990s, after 308 inches made the 1980s the wettest decade.

Electra town officials are planning to develop other water sources, and people even meet weekly to pray for rain, but the immediate goal is to reduce water consumption by 40 percent, mostly through voluntary restrictions.

"We all live in a little bitty country town and a lot of us are family," Branch said. "We have tried every way in the world possible to put restrictions on outside water."

The drought contingency plan is already in Stage 5, prohibiting outside watering, washing vehicles or the filling of swimming pools and hot tubs.

February water bills will determine if voluntary conservation is working. If not, monthly household consumption will be limited to 2,000 gallons for households of one or two; 4,000 gallons for three or four; and so on.

"We don't know anybody that is going to be able to live with those," said Hal Williams, a general contractor who owns several businesses in Electra.

"I can foresee that by summertime that we will have people fist- fighting and in arguments," he said. "I was always told that one day, water was going to be more precious than oil or gasoline, and it's just about to that point here."

Even though she lives alone, 78-year-old Iris Clynch used about 2,400 gallons of water last month -- 400 gallons more than could be allowed.

"You just don't think when you're doing the washing, in the bathtub and everything else just how much water is running through there," Clynch said.

Clynch is now using leftover bath water on her flowers, and depends on infrequent rain for the variety of trees in her large yard.

Electra is planning to spend more than $4 million on water projects. The plans are to refurbish 12 wells capped a decade ago because of poor water quality, and to install about 15 miles of pipe from Lake Diversion to the town's water plant.

General obligation bonds will pay for the improvements. The bonds could be repaid by raising monthly water rates as much as $25, more than doubling what some Electra customers now pay.

People in Munday, about 70 miles southwest of Electra, also are praying for rain. The town is one of at least 11 small towns that gets water from the North Central Texas Municipal Water Authority. That authority's lake is at about one-third of its capacity, but new wells are being drilled.

"We're getting low, but we're fine right now . . . unless it just continues on for another year with no water," said Dolan Moore, the authority's general manager.

Some water-rationing mandates are already in effect in Wichita Falls. Officials say there is adequate water in the three lakes on which the city and most small towns nearby depend, as long as the drought doesn't persist.

"We're in pretty good shape. If we act now and are conservative, we'll have water for two years if it doesn't rain," said Dave Lehfeldt, utilities manager for Wichita Falls. "If we are not making plans now, it will get very critical."

Distributed by The Associated Press (AP)

-- mike in houston (mmorris67@hotmail.com), March 03, 2000.

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