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Texas Water Conservation Scorecard

May 2016

The Texas Water Conservation Scorecard is the first-of-its-kind in-depth analysis and ranking of the water conservation efforts of more than 300 water utilities in Texas. Based on publicly available information, the Scorecard reveals a wide disparity of effort and information on what is being done to conserve the Lone Star state’s most precious resource: water.

The Scorecard is an evaluation of utilities based largely on their level of effort to advance water conservation, and to a lesser extent on their achievements. Scoring criteria included a utility’s compliance with water conservation planning and reporting requirements, its record on water loss and meeting targets for water use reduction, outdoor watering limits, and rate-based incentives for efficient use of water. Large and medium-size utilities (serving 25,000 customers or more) were evaluated on ten criteria while smaller utilities (serving less than 25,000) were rated on six criteria.

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Water conservation by the yard-estimated savings from outdoor watering restrictions

March 2015

Outdoor water use, particularly lawn watering, accounts for almost one third of annual residential water use in Texas, and can represent a much higher percentage during our hot, dry summers. Studies show that homeowners have a tendency to overwater landscapes by as much as two to three times the amount needed.

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Desalination: Is it Worth its Salt?

November 2013

Desalination is often viewed as a solution to many water supply problems and is often hailed as a ‘drought resistant’ supply. This report explores the environmental, energy, and economic issues surrounding desalination and provides an overview of desalination activities in Texas.

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@txwater

Report: Texas Must Increase Water Conservation Efforts

May 18, 2016

Most water utilities in Texas need to “substantially increase” their conservation efforts, according to a recent review of more than 300 city utilities by the Texas Living Waters Project, a consortium of environmental groups.

Among the state’s larger cities, Austin topped the list of those with strong conservation efforts claiming 90 points out of a possible 100. Kingsville ranked lowest, receiving just 10 points.

The Project’s Water Conservation Scorecard looked at how well utilities comply with state reporting requirements, whether they limit outdoor watering and how much water disappears from their distribution systems.

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A never-ending thirst: Exploring Tarrant County’s quest for water

Star Telegram, May 16, 2016

If nothing is done to develop new water sources in North Texas, projections suggest that we’ll face a shortfall of 456 billion gallons by 2070.

That’s enough water to nearly fill the equivalent of five Richland-Chambers lakes. Richland-Chambers, the state’s third largest reservoir, is owned by the Tarrant Regional Water District, which provides raw water to almost all of Tarrant County.

The sobering projection is part of the 2017 State Water Plan that is updated every five years and spells out the state’s water needs, by region, for the next 50 years.

The Texas Water Development Board is expected to vote on the 2017 State Water Plan at its meeting Thursday.

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SAWS drops plan to secure state loan for Vista Ridge pipeline Utility wants control issue settled

San Antonio Express News, May 13, 2016

The San Antonio Water System has decided not to apply for a low-interest state loan to finance part of its work on the Vista Ridge pipeline project.

Many people following the proposed 142-mile water pipeline from Burleson County expected SAWS to file a full application for a $127 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board through the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas, or SWIFT, program.

The loan would have financed construction and equipment to integrate the pipeline into SAWS’ main system, supplying up to 16.3 billion gallons of water per year.

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opinion

Commentary: Support 1x per week watering for Austin

Austin American Statesman, May 4, 2016

If you’re over 30, you may remember a time when lawn watering entailed dragging a hose around the yard at dusk. If you’re like us, you did this as a chore and didn’t realize that using the hose was one of the most water conserving ways to irrigate lawns and trees. As Austin grew, and irrigation systems proliferated, the city began using significantly more water to keep the same landscape areas green. But over the last several years, we all cut back to once a week watering. Our lawns did not suffer, and we conserved a lot of water — enough to fill Lake Austin every year!

Austin City Council is considering a proposal to limit outdoor watering with automatic irrigation systems to once per week on a permanent basis.

Austin is ready for this. We’ve learned from the drought and should prepare for the next one. It’s the smart thing to do. Our rivers and lakes are ready for this. Our pocketbooks are ready for this and we need to get behind this effort.

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Climate-Driven Water Scarcity Could Hit Economic Growth by Up to 6 Percent in Some Regions, Says World Bank

World Bank, May 3, 2016

WASHINGTON, May, 3 2016 – Water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change, could cost some regions up to 6 percent of their GDP, spur migration, and spark conflict, according to a new World Bank report released today.* 

High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy, says the combined effects of growing populations, rising incomes, and expanding cities will see demand for water rising exponentially, while supply becomes more erratic and uncertain.

Unless action is taken soon, the report says, water will become scarce in regions where it is currently abundant – such as Central Africa and East Asia – and scarcity will greatly worsen in regions where water is already in short supply – such as the Middle East and the Sahel in Africa.

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