Several years ago, at the height of the current drought, the river essentially dried up here, killing off 12,000 of the 100,000 pecan trees that belong to the Leonard family. The nearby town of Goldthwaite, 100 miles northwest of Austin and also dependent on Colorado River water, came within 90 days of losing its water supply altogether.
Rising acidity of Texas bays concerns scientists
Houston Chronicle, March 17, 2015
Many Texas bays are souring as fresh water grows scarcer because of drought and increasing urban demands, a change that could harm oysters and other shellfish and in time reverberate through the food chain, scientists reported Tuesday.
Researchers from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi found a steady rise in acidity from Galveston Bay to near where the Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico since the late 1960s. The problem becomes more severe as the coastline curves to the south.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, is the first glimpse at the changing chemistry of the bays and estuaries along the Texas coast. The full brunt of acidification will not hit for decades, but the state’s multimillion-dollar shellfish industry could be in harm’s way if the trend continues, said Xinping Hu, an oceanographer who was the study’s lead author.