Axios San Antonio

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👏 We're halfway there! What are your Fiesta plans?

Today's weather: Cloudy with a high near 84.

🌡️ Sounds like: "Long Hot Summer" by Keith Urban.

Today's newsletter is 904 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Public input wanted for water fund

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Texans have less than a week to tell the state how they want it to spend the $1 billion water infrastructure fund approved by voters in November.

Why it matters: The Texas Water Development Board is tasked with determining how to best distribute the money to address the state's water supply issues as climate change and a growing population increase pressure on our water resources.

Catch up quick: Proposition 6 earmarked $1 billion to create the Texas Water Fund for water loss and conservation projects, with a focus on rural communities.

  • As part of the proposition, at least $250 million must be allocated to projects that create new water sources.

The latest: The board has been hosting open meetings to hear public testimony on how to distribute the funding.

What they're saying: "The first place we should look to invest is water we already have," says Jennifer Walker, director of the National Wildlife Federation's Texas Coast and Water Program, advocating for funds to be allocated to water loss mitigation projects.

Threat level: Texas water systems are losing at least 572,000 acre-feet of water per year because of the deteriorating infrastructure or breaks caused by shifting ground from droughts.

Between the lines: "As we continue to extract more water from rivers, from reservoirs, from groundwater, we impact our future water availability for groundwaters, and then also we impact the downstream environment," Walker says.

What we're watching: While $1 billion is the state's largest investment in water infrastructure since 2013, proponents say it still won't meet the enormous demand.

What's next: After public comment closes at the end of the month, the board will finalize the fund guidelines and rules by the fall.

  • Find the online survey here.

Go deeper

2. Get your ACs serviced

Map showing the likelihood of above-average and below-average temperatures across the U.S. during June, July and August 2024. Photo: NOAA/CPC

A hotter-than-usual summer is likely to occur in the U.S. and many other parts of the globe, according to new forecasts and scientific research.

Why it matters: Extreme heat is a major public health threat and plays a role in droughts and wildfires.

  • Hot weather, particularly when it occurs during prolonged heat waves, also strains Texas' power grid.

The big picture: An ongoing El Niño event in the tropical Pacific Ocean is quickly fading, with cooling ocean temperatures at and beneath the surface.

  • A La Niña climate cycle is expected to take shape, which features cooler-than-average tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures, later this summer.
  • Some studies show these transitions are associated with hotter-than-average summertime conditions across large parts of the U.S.

Zoom in: A recently released NOAA climate outlook for the June through August meteorological summer shows the chances for hotter-than-average conditions are highest across a swath of Texas.

Flashback: 2023 was the hottest year on record for San Antonio, with 75 days over 100° and 131 days over 90°, according to the NWS.

Yes, but: Anthony Artusa, a meteorologist at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, pushed back against recent media headlines suggesting the lower 48 could see the "hottest summer ever" in 2024.

  • "Nevertheless, what [models] do support is an unusually hot summer this year, especially for the south-central and western areas of the contiguous U.S., and people should be prepared for this," he said.

3. Inside the Loop

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

⚡ ERCOT is considering blocking CPS Energy's plan to close part of the Braunig Power Station due to concerns about its impact on grid reliability, especially as it braces for another potentially record-breaking summer of demand. (Express-News 🔒)

🤔 DeLorean Motors Reimagined, the startup headquartered at Port San Antonio, appears to have quietly shuttered its office. (SA Current)

⚠️ Animal Care Services is alerting dog owners of the increased threat of the highly contagious and deadly parvovirus. (MySA)

4. ☕ River City roasts: Extra Fine

The orange tonic espresso, left, and a black drip coffee, right. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

👋 Megan here. I was in need of a little extra caffeine boost last week after a morning appointment and sought out a nearby coffee shop.

Dig in: Extra Fine offers coffees, teas, food and baked goods in an elevated, neighborhood cafe style in Monte Vista.

What to try: The orange tonic espresso ($5), offered seasonally for about another month.

  • The bright, citrusy flavor cuts the bitterness of the espresso, making this a refreshing cold coffee option that isn't sweet.
  • Plus, you can never go wrong with a hot drip coffee at Extra Fine.

🍽️ Best bites: If you're stopping in for some remote work and need a snack, try the green goddess crispy potatoes ($10.50) — perfectly crispy bites served with preserved lemon ricotta, arugula and Parmesan.

  • You'll be happy to eat your greens when they're served this way.

What's next: Extra Fine's second location is expected to open downtown at the Savoy Building by early summer.

A plate of small potatoes mixed with greens.
These potatoes will knock your socks off. Photo: Megan Stringer/Axios

5. Perked up coffee trend

Data: National Coffee Association; Note: Polling was conducted in January; Chart: Axios Visuals

Speaking of coffee, the South really loves a good cup of joe.

The big picture: Nationally, daily coffee drinking among U.S. adults is at a high of more than 20 years, according to a recent National Coffee Association survey.

Zoom in: In January, 66% of adults in the South drank coffee in the past day, per NCA polling.

  • That's a 10% jump from 2020.

The fine print: NCA has regional data since 2020 and national data going back to 2004.

Flashback: In 2004, less than half of adults nationwide had coffee in the past day, per NCA polling.

Between the lines: Although drip is the most popular way to prepare coffee, consumption of espresso-based beverages has been growing nationally.

  • Lattes are the most popular coffee medium — 18% of American adults drank one in the past week — followed by espresso shots and cappuccinos, NCA says.

Thanks to our editor Chloe Gonzales and copy editors Steven Patrick and Yasmeen Altaji.

🎉 Madalyn is getting back into the swing of Fiesta things with Cornyation tonight.

🦦 Megan is happy to learn that otters have returned to the San Marcos River for the first time in 70 years.