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Modern Dust Bowl: In Severe Drought, Some Texas Cities Could Run Out Of Water

Ann Worthy/Shutterstock
Some parts of West Texas are now drier than the 1930s Dust Bowl.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Some Texas cities only have 45-day water supplies; how effective is Texas’ death penalty?; the most popular baby names in Texas; and more.

More than 30 Texas water suppliers could run out of drinking water in 45 to 90 days as the drought in the state worsens. No residents will go without water, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said Wednesday, and if a supplier runs out, then water will be trucked in. Most of the suppliers are located in rural areas or outside of large metropolitan areas, with the worst situations in West and Northwest Texas — the driest of the areas affected by a yearslong drought. Some parts of West Texas are now drier than the 1930s Dust Bowl. While Dallas-Fort Worth isn’t affected, Oak Trail Shores in Hood County and Mart in McLennan County both have just 45-day supplies, TCEQ says. The agency says 11 water suppliers could run out in 45 days and 21 others could run dry in 90 days. In other water news, KERA's Shelley Kofler recently visited Wichita Falls, which wants to recycle wastewater and toilet waterand turn it into tap water.  [Associated Press via Austin American-Statesman]

  • A district court judge has agreed to delay the start of a capital murder trial for the man accused of gunning down two North Texas prosecutors. Defense attorneys for former Kaufman County Justice of the Peace Eric Williams had requested the delay because of an extensive amount of evidence they must still review. WFAA-TV reports that Judge Michael Snipes on Wednesday delayed jury selection until September and the trial to Dec. 1. The defense had hoped to push the trial into next year. Authorities believe Williams bore a grudge against Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and prosecutor Mark Hasse for successfully prosecuting him for stealing three county-owned computer monitors. They contend Williams killed both men in separate shootings last year. McLelland's wife Cynthia also was killed. [Associated Press]

  • Texas is good at the death penalty, a Texas law professor says. “Killing people, sad to say, is like most anything else: The more you do it, the better you get,” according to a piece in Politico Magazine by David R. Dow, Cullen professor at the University of Houston Law Center. Since 1977, more than one-third of people executed in the U.S. have died in Huntsville. Dow wrote:As a law professor in Texas who, along with my team, has represented well over 100 death row inmates over the past 20 years, I am often asked why Texas executes so many people. This is what I say: Texas executes so many people because it executes so many people. I’m not being flip. What I mean is simply that killing people is like most anything else; the more you do it, the better you get. If killing people were like playing the violin, Texas would have been selling out Carnegie Hall years ago.”

  • Sophia was the most popular baby girl name in Texas in 2013. For Texas boys, Jacob was No. 1. The Social Security Administration has released last year's most popular baby names in each state. The other popular Texas baby names in 2013? For the boys, Jayden was No. 2, while Noah, Ethan and Daniel rounded out the top 5. For the girls, Emma was No. 2, while Isabella, Mia and Olivia also made the top 5. We’ve produced this interesting look back at the most popular baby names in Texas over the past several decades. In 1960, David was the most popular baby boy name in Texas. Mary was the most popular baby girl name. Then there are the names gaining a lot of ground in recent years, such as Genesis and Ximena.

  • A rare rock crystal ewer, the first object from the Keir Collection to arrive at the Dallas Museum of Art, will be shown to the media Thursday morning. The museum announced in February that it was receiving a long-term loan of the Keir Collection, one of the world’s largest private holdings of Islamic art. The DMA will have the third largest Islamic art collection in the country. “Rock crystal is a pure form of the silica mineral quartz, prized for its transparence and flawless structure,” the DMA says in a news release. KERA’s Jerome Weeks reported on the Keir Collection on Art&Seek.

(Photo Credit: Ann Worthy/Shutterstock)

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.