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LCRA to Take Matagorda Bay Off Life Support?

UPDATE 9/19: The LCRA Board voted 9-6 yesterday to seek emergency authorization from TCEQ to temporarily suspend freshwater inflows to Matagorda Bay. ORIGINAL POST 9/12: Matagorda Bay is the second largest estuary on the Texas Gulf Coast.  The Bay stretches over approximately 350 square miles and, in a normal year, receives an average of 1.8 million acre-feet of inflows from the Colorado River. So far this year, bay inflows have been about 150,000 acre-feet.   Tuesday, the LCRA Board met to discuss the fate of Matagorda Bay.  More about that in a moment – but first let’s explain how we got there. The Colorado and Matagorda Bay As the stewards of the Lower Colorado River, the LCRA is...

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Texas Courts Start to Fill in the Blanks on Groundwater Law

About eighteen months ago, the Texas Supreme Court issued a historic ruling on groundwater law.  In Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) v. Day, the Day family and others sued the EAA claiming that the EAA’s regulation of the aquifer, which limited the landowner’s right to pump groundwater, violated their constitutional rights because the landowner owns the water under their property.  The court ruled in Day’s favor; however, the decision was as striking for what it didn’t say as for what it did.  While the court held that ownership of groundwater is a property right attached to surface ownership, the Court also held that regulation of the resource is permissible.  Questions remained as to how...

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SAWS is Challenged on Project Transparency

A recent article in the San Antonio Express News caught my eye and echoed some of my own thoughts so I decided to bring it here in case you missed it.  Last year in their new Water Management Plan (WMP), San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) laid out several new or expanding water supply projects to ensure San Antonio’s water future.  One of these projects was the Request for Competitive Sealed Proposals or RFCSP, or as I call it: the pipeline project.  This project sought bids from water marketers to bring 20,000 acre-feet of groundwater per year from other parts of the state to San Antonio in an effort to diversify the city’s water...

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Money for Water, but we Need to be Careful

As we explained in an earlier post, voters will soon have the opportunity to pass a constitutional amendment to partially fund the State Water Plan.  Even with these additional funds, it’s easy to see that there won’t be enough money to pay for every desired project across the state.  The Texas Tribune recently examined the 2012 State Water Plan and the $53 billion of water supply and infrastructure projects contained therein.   A staggering 77% of the proposed expenditures for water projects are proposed by just 3 of the State’s 16 regions. First, let’s review a few of the numbers. Region C, home of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, contains a whopping $21 billion dollars in...

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An Honest Conversation About Fracing Requires Honest Facts

Perhaps the most discussed environmental challenge these days is hydraulic fracturing or “fracing”.  You don’t have to look far to find documentaries, debates, websites and articles on both sides of the issue.  Fracing raises a wide-range of environmental issues, spanning from air quality to wildlife disruption.  In water challenged regions, such as parts of the South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale area, a particularly important concern is the demand fracing places on water supplies. Fracing is the process of enhancing gas or oil production in tight rock formations by injecting fluids at high pressure to crack the rock and to free the product.   Once the fractures have been opened and extended, a propping agent, proppant,...

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Texas Leg Decides It’s Dry Enough for Rainy Day Fund

Once every two years, all eyes are on the lawmakers in Austin who are busy passing new state laws.  Texas often passes water laws after drought so it was no surprise that after the summers of 2011 and 2012, water was a priority among state leaders in the regular session of the 83rd Texas Legislature this spring. Over the past three years most of Texas has struggled with drought conditions , which continues to affect much of the state today. House Bill 4 Although several bills dealt with water (many of which we will discuss in upcoming weeks), most of the media attention focused House Bill 4 (HB 4).  Among other things, HB 4 allows...

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Welcome (Back) to the Blog!

WELCOME!!! Like this author, the Texas Water Solutions blog has experienced a few changes, but that doesn't mean that there aren't tons of water issues to discuss so I am excited to announce that the blog is back with a new address and some new voices.   Before we get started on all the great topics we will be posting about, I thought it might be helpful to have a little background on our new locale. How did we get here? After the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) discontinued much of its water work in Texas, there was a need to find a new house.  The Texas Living Waters (TLW) project was a natural fit. Originally started...

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