Cool Weather Doesn't Bring Drought Relief

Fall has arrived in the Houston area — but the problems from this summer's drought persist. Local leaders say the change in seasons doesn't signal a change in water issues.

The cooler temperatures and sunny skies could lull Houstonians into a false sense of weather well-being.

But the city remains under Level Two water conservation. Mayor Annise Parker says the rainfall levels are still two feet below normal.

"We had a lovely weekend this weekend and there were a lot of people out barbequing, and there is still a burn ban. We had a nice rain weekend before last, we are still in severe drought conditions. The trees will still burn."

There's no indication the drought will let up any time soon. In fact, weather experts say it could last through next year.  

Parker says because of that, the city is considering incentives to encourage people to use native grasses and plants, or install drip irrigation systems.

"This is an excellent opportunity to educate citizens. Because we haven't worried about it, it's routine to see commercial sprinkler systems coming on at two o'clock in the afternoon — that's never a good idea. And we're hoping to figure out a way to maybe change some of Houston's planting and lawn and tree maintenance habits going into the future."

Parker says the city's three water reservoirs, Lake Houston, Lake Conroe and Lake Livingston, are at 80 percent capacity. But she says continued water conservation is necessary to maintain those levels as the drought continues.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...