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Navigating the SWIFT Application Process: Water Conservation Projects

November 2016

The Texas Living Waters Project has designed Navigating the SWIFT Application Process: Water Conservation Projects to assist small-to-mid-sized utilities in evaluating the funding strategies available to them for implementing their water conservation projects. This document focuses primarily on the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and includes a detailed description of the application process established by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).

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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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PDF of Scorecard

Facts About Texas Water (English & Spanish)

May 2016

The 2nd edition of Facts About Texas Water is available in English and Spanish.  Facts About Texas Water is intended to give all Texans—young and old, urban and rural— basic information about water that will help us understand this important resource and how to use and protect it.  Facts About Texas Water was prepared for the 7th/8th grade student, but is useful to all Texans that want to learn basic information about your water supply and how to appreciate, conserve, and protect this valuable resource.

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Download PDF – Spanish

We have a limited amount of printed copies available free of charge for educational activities.  Please contact us to inquire about availability.

 

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

Protecting the drops we drink: Who owns Texas water?

The Eagle, January 17, 2017

As Texas population continues to increase, so will demands for water. The answer to the question of who owns Texas water will continue as a point of argument.

Water availability has become such a critical issue that many statewide meetings, legislation and court cases revolve around the subject. A recent state-wide conference, devoted to water, was the Texas Section Society of Range Management annual meeting held in Uvalde. The opening remarks presented by Charles Porter addressed the question of water ownership.

Porter suggested looking at three geological water containers – natural surface, diffused surface and groundwater – to determine ownership. Each container has different ownership and regulations.

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Environmentalists skeptical of Ike Dike

Houston Chronicle, January 5, 2017

GALVESTON – Plans for building a massive storm-surge protection system for the Houston area are rushing ahead before officials determine whether the project could harm Galveston Bay, environmental groups say.

The Sierra Club and the Galveston Bay Foundation, the environmental groups most closely watching the planning process, worry that there’s been too much focus on how to build the so-called Ike Dike and not enough on its impact on the bay.

“The Ike Dike has gained traction and local government support,” said Scott Jones, spokesman for the Galveston Bay Foundation. “We understand that, but we don’t think the environmental questions have been answered.”

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North Texas cities unite against swelling water costs, ask for review

Dallas Business Journal, December 16, 2016

The mayors of four North Texas cities — Garland, Mesquite, Plano and Richardson — have banded together to ask the Public Utility Commission to conduct a review of their water rates with the North Texas Municipal Water District.

The cities decided to band together to ask for a review of the rates set under a six-decade old water supply contract, which the mayors say is discriminatory.

In all, Garland, Mesquite, Plano and Richardson officials say their cities have paid a total of $178 million for water the municipalities did not use.

“We are losing tens of millions of dollars at the expense of our taxpayers because the North Texas Municipal Water District’s current rate methodology is outdated and does not incentivize water conservation,” said Plano City Manager Bruce Glasscock, in a statement.

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opinion

Native fish and wildlife belong to all Texans

MySanAntonio.com, December 14, 2016

Texas is known for its vast land and abundant wildlife and fish, resources available for all to enjoy through hunting, fishing or wildlife viewing. Conservation of these resources for future generations results from a uniquely North American approach viewed as the most successful conservation program in the world.

This program is called the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, and its cornerstone is the Public Trust Doctrine. The Public Trust Doctrine means wildlife belongs to all citizens, and its management is entrusted to the government to benefit present and future generations. The North American Model also is centered on the principle that fish and wildlife management must be based on sound science, and that science should drive regulations rather than emotions or short-term economics.

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Effort to fight Arundo ramps up along Hill Country rivers

The Examiner, December 9, 2016

A coalition of government and nonprofit conservation groups is expanding the war on Arundo (Arundo donax), an invasive plant that threatens to take over scenic Hill Country rivers. It’s one aspect of a broader statewide effort made possible by a record $6.3 million to control invasive aquatic species approved by the Texas Legislature for the 2016-17 biennium, an increase from $1.1 million in the previous two-year cycle.

Like fire ants and feral hogs, Arundo does not belong in Texas, but it’s threatening to take over, alter the shape and flow of streams and rivers, worsen erosion and flooding problems, and increase wildfire risk. Sometimes known as giant reed or Carrizo cane, this highly invasive plant is native to the Mediterranean area, but was introduced to the American Southwest in the 1800s as an ornamental plant. Growing in dense thickets up to 30 feet tall (or taller), Arundo chokes out deep-rooted native vegetation that naturally anchors the riparian area, absorbing water, dissipating stormwater energy, and reducing erosion. Instead, Arundo-infested areas are prone to bank undercutting and erosion, leading to reduced water quality. Arundo is also a “big drinker,” using up much more water than the diverse, native plant community it displaces—some estimates suggest that tall, dense thickets of Arundo can use 48 acre-feet of water per acre per year.

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