To conserve what little water is left, the state of Texas restricted water use in 1,000 cities and towns last year. Of those, 17 are considered critical -- in danger of running out of water in six months or less.Topping that list is the town of Spicewood Beach, a community of 500 homes on the shores of Lake Travis near Austin. Spicewood relies on wells fed by water from both the lake and the aquifer below the town. Too much water use and too little rainfall last year caused the water table to sink to historic lows. This January, Spicewood Beach became the first Texas town to run out of water.Now, a 7,000-gallon water truck arrives in Spicewood Beach each day to supply the homes.
Across Texas, towns experienced record low rainfall but also record high temperatures last year. Some towns, including Robert Lee, experienced more than 100 days of 100-degree temperatures. Those conditions are likely to become increasingly normal for the region, Hayhoe said, and that could make already severe droughts even worse.“What climate change is doing is it’s increasing our temperatures, and higher temperatures mean faster evaporation,” she says, “So you need more water to provide the same amount of irrigation for crops if temperatures are higher. And that’s what we see happening here in Texas and in many places around the world.”