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Texas Water Development Board publishes study on drought indicators

For immediate release. Contact: Media Relations at 512-463-5129

AUSTIN – (February 3, 2015) – The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) in coordination with The University of Texas at Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences announces the publication of a study on indicators for the early warning of drought in Texas.

The study observed that certain climatic conditions in the spring, such as atmospheric pressure and soil moisture, can be used to better predict drought over Texas in the summer. The study participants developed a statistical model that is about 70 percent effective in predicting summer precipitation. The model successfully predicted rainfall conditions for last summer. "If we can predict summer drought in April, or as early as January, water providers have more time to prepare," explained the lead author of the study, Dr. Nelun Fernando of the Texas Water Development Board.

"I am proud of the critical component of water science at TWDB," said TWDB Chairman Carlos Rubinstein. "We are the state agency charged with developing sound science for water planning. The important work of our scientists helps with both long-term planning and near-term potential drought response."

The research that supported this study was funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. "The long-term collaboration between NASA, the Jackson School, and the Texas Water Development Board was tremendous," said Rong Fu, a professor at the Jackson School of Geosciences and the project-s principal investigator.

"In addition to our science programs, TWDB offers many financial assistance programs to help water suppliers respond to drought conditions," said Rubinstein. "Our programs, including the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT), the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), are available to provide communities with drought response, water infrastructure, and water quality improvements."

The report, Early Warning of Summer Drought over Texas and the South Central United States: Spring Conditions as a Harbinger of Summer Drought, can be read in its entirety on TWDB's website.

More information can be found in Past and future drought early warning information

The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning, and preparing the state water plan for the development of the state's water resources. The TWDB administers cost-effective financial assistance programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.