News Digest - August 23, 2021

  • This week's TWDB Drought Watch shows two areas of drought in Texas: one in the Big Bend area that has been shrinking since April, and the other in the lower Red River Valley.
  • As climate change and long-term drought have continued to take a toll on the Colorado River, the federal government has announced for the first time that there is a shortage on one of the river's main reservoirs: Lake Mead. Water supply reductions will be mandated for Western states, cutting them off from water they've relied on for decades.
  • After the Texas power grid failure in February, Senate bills 2 and 3 were signed into law in June. Senate Bill 2 made changes the ERCOT board of directors and Senate Bill 3 requires power companies to upgrade their power plants and transmission lines to withstand extreme weather.
  • On Friday, Orlando officials asked residents to conserve water because of the surge in COVID hospitalizations that has led to shortages in liquid oxygen. Using liquid oxygen is a necessary step in Orlando's water treatment process, but hospitals need the oxygen for patients requiring respiratory therapy. The city's water regulator has warned that "water quality could falter if consumers do not cut back".

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