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The Source: Not Enough Water (And Books) To Go Around

Bexar County

Bexar County brings the future to the present with approval for an all-digital library called BiblioTech. So are people ready for it? The Medina Lake water level continues to drop, so how close is it to becoming a big dry hole?

Nice library... Where are the books?

The Bexar County digital library is *one of the first in the nation, and is fit for the 21 century.  It hasn’t even been built yet and already it’s a hit getting international media attention.

Bexar County BiblioTech is a $1.5 million paperless library that will skip the dog-eared copies of the classics and the dusty reference books and instead will have computer terminals, laptops, tablets, and e-readers.
The e-library isn’t a new idea -- it’s been talked about for years -- and critics said the public wasn’t quite ready for it, but Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff thinks otherwise; it was his idea to move forward with the project.

The building will be part of the Precinct 1 satellite offices on the city’s Southside  at 3505 Pleasanton Road, and it is expected to be in operation by the end of the summer.  

"I think there was a reluctance  of an existing library to do this because of their connection with books and to offer both. There has also been a period time here where financing has been difficult and that may have precluded others from moving forward on something like this, but I think in terms of bringing information and books to people in a low-cost effective way, I believe this is the way to go."

When a lake becomes a pond

In 1913 when the Medina dam was built it was considered a marvel of modern engineering and construction. At the time of the dam's construction, it was the largest concrete dam in the country and the fourth largest dam overall. The dam is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Since that time, Medina Lake has seen a series of droughts and seen the water level drop and drop. Just like it is today.
Over the years Media Lake has become a loved spot for recreation and fishing – and a water supply for San Antonio.  But it was built with the intention to supply farmers with irrigation water.

In the current drought there isn’t enough water to go around. The lake today is at 9 percent full, and those farmers who use the canal system are being told not to expect irrigation water in 2013.

So what’s the situation with Medina Lake right now? Ed Berger is the business manager at the Bexar-Medina-Atascosa Water Control Improvement District Number 1 – and he helps oversee the running of Medina Dam and Medina Lake.

"As it gets down to the critical stage and the water gets lower we can still give water to SAWS, but they have suspended the sales to the irrigators until we have some events that put more water into the lake."

See up to date information for Texas reservoirs at: waterdatafortexas.org

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi