Stage 4

We have entered stage 4, critical water shortage conditions. There are only 5 stages in the system and stage 5 is titled “emergency”. I only use the water to wash clothes once a week, water the animals and myself in terms of consumption to stave off dehydration, and water the fruit trees between 8 pm and midnight. Technically though, im supposed to be doing that 1 day a week and im watering the 8 fruit trees nightly. I give each tree one pitcher of well water. If you are on city water you can get fined for doing this. I dont think they can fine me for using my own well water but if im being considerate, i share the aquifer with all the other wells and i shouldnt do anything that would deplete the water for all our wells. I do keep this in mind and i am generally very guarded and stingy with my well water. However, i planted those fruit trees. I painstakingly dug those holes through rock to make room for them to grow. I kept them wrapped in blankets and duct tape in the winter and tried to keep them hydrated in the summers. You cant replace trees that have survived a few winters with brand new ones and expect not to be starting back at square one. The young trees die when it freezes. So, im trying to keep these trees alive. It seems a morbid thought to water them once a week only because then they’d die. All the landscaping trees in fredericksburg that arent 100 yrs old are brown. All the trees lining the dry creeks and riverbeds are brown. I dont want my fruit trees to be brown. It is an extra 8 pitchers of hand carried water. God will have to forgive me because i dont have it in me to purposefully kill the fruit trees. It has been 4 years since we had an amount of rain to add back to the ground. We have a pop up storm here or there but it evaporates quickly. We need a series of good soaking rains. If the water level in the ground drops below the depth my well is drilled to, no more water. None of us have money to drill another well or deepen the one we have. A peer whose well ran dry is looking at $40,000 to deepen hers. I shudder at the thought. I dont have that amount of money and i couldnt borrow it either because i owe so much in medical bills, a water softener, and the mortgage. If i said i wasnt worried every time i turned the knob on the spigot outside i’d be lying. Im watching wells run dry all around me and i know that one day it will be my turn.

We need rain. We need biblical amounts of rain. We need 40 days of rain. We need blinding torrents of rain. God hear my prayer and if it be your will, give Texas some rain. Lord, bring us outstanding amounts of rain. Fill the creeks again Lord. We are praying and waiting on your beautiful, hydrating rain. Something has got to change soon or we’ll all be up sh*t creek with bone dry wells and dead trees.

update: the emergency management system for our county has appealed to facebook in attempts to find a tanker and sources where they can procure water for those that are without it due to the drought. People are understandably alarmed as facebook is a social media site and it would seem a rather non official last resort for protocol. They’ve devolved into fighting each other over whose fault the lack of water is, who used the most and for what…and in the meantime few are even having the conversation about tankers anymore. One man threw a comment in there that in the next two months the only forecasted day of rain is a single tuesday and we all needed to pray that it happened. Sir, if it rained from sun up to sun down, a single tuesday could not help us. We need a biblical event.

Though it is tacky and petty for me to use this opportunity to point out yet another reason why the development of this area is a bad idea, as i am obviously biased and just want the bulldozers to go away and leave the acres and acres of wooded land alone…. I’d just like someone to explain to the developers that if we don’t have water now, we’re going to have less of it after they build four new subdivisions.

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    1. There was a situation in the town i work in where a guy came in and tried to have an exotic animals zoo. Well he planted landscaping and manicured grass for the customers to see and drilled multiple wells and defied the watering restrictions to keep it all alive…his neighbors well ran dry as soon as he drilled a new well near her property. All of her cows and horses suddenly didnt have water. They had to move the cows off the property. As for the horses, the guy felt so bad he gave the new well he drilled on his property (that ran hers dry) to the neighbor for her horses. So far its still working. All my patients need a little extra care right now. I have to fill their bird feeders, get their preferred snack items, and style their hair because their children havent been in to see them for a while. They tell me they’re all selling their cattle to get em off the land so they dont have to truck in water and buy so much hay because there’s no grass to eat. They’re busy running damage control so ive been spending some time chatting and braiding or brushing hair with the patients and this week ive asked the patients with “family will do laundry” signs on their doors if they want the facility to wash their laundry or they think their son or daughter will be up this weekend to pick it up. Some say yes, some say no. It was a big disappointment that we had a tropical storm in texas that brought just a few drops of rain, not enough to collect. Everybody was holding their breath for it and now its over and it didnt bring the downpours we prayed for. But i got to stand outside and feel the drops hit my face for a bit and hear thunder twice and it had been so long since it happened it was a relief to feel rain on one’s skin even if it barely wet the soil. Im secretly worried that this may be the new state of the weather and we might become a desert. But, every morning i pray for biblical amounts of rain and maybe one day it will happen.

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