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It may take years for Texas rivers, lakes to recover from drought

Monday's rain was not nearly enough to impact water levels, according to UTSA professor Yongli Gao.

SAN ANTONIO — The Texas heat and drought is causing several rivers and lakes to dry up

On Sunday, Canyon Lake broke its lowest water level record. And, according to conservationists, the Guadalupe River is no longer flowing into the lake.

Even with some rainfall Monday, UTSA professor Yongli Gao said it was not nearly enough to make a dent in the ongoing bone-dry conditions. Gao works in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

He said that in order to see a difference in the water levels, a big system would have to move through South Texas. 

“Talking about a lot of rainfall, not just one or two storms, it needs to be extraordinary,” Gao said.

Texas is no stranger to droughts and lack of rainfall. He said last year was one of the worst in terms of precipitation.

“This year’s is fairly bad, too, unless we have some big rainfall before the end of the year,” Gao said.

Gao has been monitoring the Edwards Aquifer closely. He said the water level has dropped significantly since 2019. But the lowest levels were back in 1956.

“With population growth, we are using a lot more water than the '50s,” he said.

Professor Gao said if the ongoing drought is anything like the one the region experienced in the '50s, it may take at least two years for water levels to bounce back.

“As a citizen in Central Texas, do what you can to conserve water,” Gao advised.

As of Monday, Bexar County is still considered to be in an exceptional drought.

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