After scan rainfall on Sunday in Copperas Cove, drought persists
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Although many Copperas Cove residents rejoiced on Sunday with the thunderstorms that rolled through the area that gave some rain, Central Texas is still experiencing exceptional drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor updated weekly.
Sunday’s rainfall was the first in more than 60 days for the local area. Less than one inch of rain fell at Robert Gray Army Airfield.
Copperas Cove has been on mandatory Stage 2 water restrictions since Aug. 1, when the level at Belton Lake dropped to 578.69 feet, just under the Stage 2 trigger level.
Stage 2 is considered severe water shortage conditions.
The goal for water consumption reduction by city water customers is at least 15 percent.
Watering the lawn with hose-end sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems is limited to once a week, per the schedule, between midnight to 10 a.m. or from 8 p.m. until midnight.
Residents may use a hand-held hose, a faucet filled bucket or watering can of five gallons or less, or drip irrigation system, at any time. Washing any motor vehicle, motorbike, boat, trailer, airplane or other vehicle is prohibited except on designated watering days. Washing may be done at any time on the immediate premises of a commercial car wash or commercial service station. The only exception for washing a vehicle is if the health, safety, and welfare of the public is contingent upon frequent vehicle cleansing, such as garbage trucks and vehicles used to transport food and perishables.
Filling indoor or outdoor swimming pools, wading pools, or jacuzzi-type pools is prohibited except on designated watering days.
The use of water from hydrants is limited to firefighting, related activities, or other activities necessary to maintain public health, safety, and welfare, except that use of waste from designated fire hydrants for construction purposes may be allowed under special permit from the City of Copperas Cove.
All restaurants are prohibited from serving water to patrons except upon request of the patron.
Copperas Cove receives its water via the Bell County Water Control & Improvement District No. 1., which pulls water from Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.
The Stage 3 drought emergency trigger, according to the Brazos River Authority, occurs for Lake Belton when it reaches 566.3 feet of surface elevation, 173,052 acre-feet of water storage, or a reservoir drawdown of 27.7 feet.
Texas water supply relies on the state’s natural rivers and lakes. Lake Belton reached a record -breaking low level with 16.90 feet of water evaporating to-date this year.
As of Aug. 31, the lake was 58.4 percent full according to waterdatafortexas.org.
Comparatively, On Aug. 31, 2022, Lake Belton was 76.9 percent full.
According to the Long-Term Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI), precipitation of 9-12 inches over the next four weeks would be needed to bring the local area and the rest of Central Texas out of drought conditions.
The PDSI measures long-term drought conditions based on precipitation, temperature and soil moisture data.
Current drought status can be found on brazos.org that has graphs and charts for current and projected evaporation rates and drought conditions.
Water data for Texas is updated daily and can be found at waterdatafortexas.org. Both websites offer other interesting and valuable information.