Tom Mason [00:00:00] Fact is, there is climate change, no matter what you think causes it.
Tom Mason [00:00:05] Here are the consequences. And kind of, in the shorthand version is, more intense floods and rainfall events, hurricanes and things like that, coupled with more intense and longer duration droughts.
Tom Mason [00:00:25] So, that makes it a little bit difficult to, to manage this, this really pretty complicated water supply system with a pretty decent, large-sized watershed.
Tom Mason [00:00:47] The sort of assumptions that people made for many decades, I think, are just having to be adjusted pretty dramatically. And that's, it's a moving target. It's just, it's very dynamic. And we just don't know.
Tom Mason [00:01:03] Coupled with, on top of climate change, I'll just add that we know more about droughts of record, having more information about tree-ring studies and things like that in the Southwest. And we realize, or scientists tell us, that there have been 30-year droughts before in the last 500 years, and at least one major drought of roughly 10 years' duration, I think every century for the last five to six hundred years.
Tom Mason [00:01:29] So, again, in shorthand, things are worse than we thought, even without climate change. And then you throw climate change on top of that, with this greater likelihood of intense flooding and heavy rainfall events, but longer droughts and much more intense droughts, meaning you will have this huge demand for water during the drought periods in which every drop's incredibly important because you don't know how long it's going to last.
Tom Mason [00:02:04] And by the way, surface water supplies - the evaporation rate on a reservoir is huge. During a Texas summer, I mean, you can lose as much water from evaporation as the city of Austin uses. And it's just pretty astonishing.
Tom Mason [00:02:22] But that makes water, guaranteeing water supplies for anyone, much more difficult to predict with any sort of precision, or I should say, with reliability.
Tom Mason [00:02:39] And so I think that's forced the LCRA to be more conservative in terms of predicting when and for how long they'll have enough water to offer their firm water customers.