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Wednesday, Aug. 21, 1996


Wishing for water

won't cut mustard

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The broken record keeps on playing. We've all read the reports and
talked with our neighbors about the ongoing drought and thirst for rain
in Texas. Despite the bleak forecasts, Texans are banding together to
fight this disaster in a way that only Texans can.

We all know that summer in south and west Texas means days that are
hotter than blue blazes and nights that aren't much better. But what
none of us could have been prepared for is that this year's sizzling
summer would be an encore to a record dry year in Texas. Texans have
once again been asked to hang tough, but even though Texans can only
take so much.

The facts and figures on the low levels of the rivers and springs are
astonishing. Too often discussions talk about salamanders or other
species being the victims of the drought. It is people who are the true
victims and the true heroes in this story. Everyone is being hit hard.
Farmers and ranchers losing crops and livetock. Consumers are paying
more at the gocery store. Tourists and new businesses are turning away.
Families are losing lawns. I know this is not news to you, but the news
is how communities are banding together.

Everyone is doing their part. Communities are sharing conservation
ideas such as watering in the early morning and evening or using
low-flow shower heads. Schools, businesses and government are doing
their jobs using less water. Everyone has had to put their thinking caps
on to come up with innovative solutions to get through this problem.

Congress has been creative in crafting disaster relief provisions to
benefit those hardest hit by the drought. For example, the Livestock
Feed Program and the Disaster Reserve Assistance Program have been
extended to help mitigate drought losses to agricultural producers.
Currently, counties are being evaluated to determine whether conditions
merit further extension of these two programs.

In the wake of some communities' issuance of voluntary conservation
plans, many local citizens are coming up with practical steps that could
conserve water. For example, people are being urged to fix water leaks
and water their lawn in the early morning or evening. Other more
innovative solutions include landscaping tips such as mulching flower

It is not easy, but through creative solutions and cooperation we'll
make it through. Keep up the fight, do what you can and pray for rain.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Henry Bonilla represents the 23rd Congressional District
in the U.S. House of Representatives.


Fouling own nest

is dangerous move

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There is some room for debate about whether human activity is changing
the world climate. If it is accepted that humankind's works do have an
effect, there is more room for debate about the extent of the effect.

That much was evident from a lively conference on the subject last week
at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

What shouldn't get lost in the debate, however, is common sense, and
common sense tells us that it is stupid and dangerous to foul one's own
nest. ...

Though a majority of scientists has determined that there probably is
an effect on the climate caused by human activity, there hasn't been a
determination of the size of the impact. ...

Certainly, it costs more to be careful with resources, whether they are
renewable or depletable, aesthetic or vital to continued life on the
planet. Even if it turns out we're not contributing to global warming,
though, we still ought to be good stewards. Who wants to live on an
ugly, polluted planet?

Whether life could be sustained on other planets in other solar systems
if we ruin this one is something we will not know for perhaps dozens of

What we do know is that for our children and grandchildren, there is
and will be only one planetary residence.
- Austin American-Statesman


Water rationing plan

used in drought areas

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By Mac McKinnon

It you think it's dry here, you should head toward central and south
Yes, it is dry here and while it is proving to be a hardship for many,
in comparison, it's not nearly as bad as the drought is around Austin,
San Antonio and the Houston area.
In Houston, for example, by this time of year they normally have 27 or
28 inches. Thus far this year, they have had less than 15 inches. The
area all around Austin and San Antonio, usually very lush this time of
year even though it is summer, is very brown.
Many communities in that area are running out of water and rationing is
beginning to be enforced. Lakes are getting low and that is the water
supply for many of the towns, large and small, in that area.
I went to Fiesta Texas in San Antonio and saw signs posted saying that
due to the dry conditions, fountains and waterfalls were not in
I was on the road for about five days and it appeared that during those
five days, there were clouds everywhere and some rain. But the rain was
spotty and not very substantial.
A friend of mine in Central Texas says he received eight inches this
year and it came all at one time, causing serious damage to crops. And
no rain followed to help the crops recover.
From what people tell me, the problem is not just that it hasn't rained
this year but the rainfall has not been substantial for several years in
a row. One of the problems for many farmers and people with gardens and
lawns is that rain didn't fall during the winter, providing base
seasoning for crops.
I always remember my father speaking of the need for a good base of
moisture from the winter in order to have good crops in the spring and
summer. That's apparently why so many people like to see a good snow as
snow apparently really soaks in and provides a good moisture base.
One of the strong points for the Texas economy is that we're attracting
many people from all over the world to tour Texas and its vast array of
While at Fiesta Texas, I heard many different langauges which indicates
that other countries are enjoying what Texas has to offer.
Incidentally, if you haven't been to Fiesta Texas, take a swim suit as
it is a water park as well as having normal amusement rides. I didn't
realize that in advance.
Also, plan to stay late as one of the best attractions at the park is a
laser light and fireworks show at 9:15 every evening called the Lone
Star Spectacular. It depicts the history of Texas and of course,
includes Texas brags. The show alone is worth the price of admission.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Mac McKinnon is editor and publisher of the Pecos
Enterprise. His column appears on Wednesday and Friday.
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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