The government's top water official says the drought that we're suffering in Texas is 'the new normal' and the region has to get creative when it comes to obtaining new sources of water, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  Nancy Stoner, the Environmental Protection Agency's Assistant Director for water, talked with 1200 WOAI's Michael Board following a tour of the Mission Reach project on the San Antonio River.


  Stoner said 'hot and dry is not going away' and it is important that water companies and individuals get creative when it comes to water conservation.


  "In Santa Fe they did a study and they determined that they can capture about 20% of the water they need for the city of Santa Fe through rainwater harvesting," Stoner said.


  The San Antonio Water System  currently has a major project in place to capture rainwater runoff and store it in a series of natural underground caverns in southeast Bexar County.


  Experts say a combination of the impact of global warming and the increases population of the state will make water scarce for the rest of our lives, and they say drought will rule our activities for the next several decades.


  They point to significantly lower levels of reservoirs like the Highland Lakes and Medina Lake, and point out that water intensive industries, like rice farming, will bear the brunt.


  But Stoner says all of us will have to learn to live with less water and be creative.


  "Water conservation is a big piece of it, obviously," she said.  "Reusing water, reclaimed water."