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Keeping Rivers Flowing in Texas

Summer is coming and that means beating the heat by spending time at the river. For my family, that means swimming in the Pedernales, fishing along the Colorado, and tubing in the San Marcos. Rivers play an important role in the lives of Texans all over the state. Rivers connect communities, provide vital fish and wildlife habitat and supply essential freshwater to feed the nursery areas in our bays and estuaries along the Texas coast.Unfortunately, as important as Texas rivers are, we cannot always assume that the water our natural systems need will be there. It takes proactive management, thoughtful policy-making and the hard work of people, governments and organizations that care about...

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Gulf Coast Water Providers get Immersed in Water Conservation

If there’s one topic that draws a crowd in Texas these days it’s how to meet our state’s water supply challenges. That’s why 150+ people turned out on a cold winter day in Houston for the 3rd Annual Gulf Coast Water Conservation Symposium, held on January 23rd.  This conference focused on the region that covers the Houston-Galveston area, including fast-growing suburban Brazoria, Fort Bend, and Montgomery Counties.The goal of the symposium was to provide area elected officials, senior government managers, water utility staff, business and community leaders, and advocates crucial information about water conservation best practices from state and national leaders so that they may plan for and implement programs that reduce water...

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State Officials Should Engage (Not Fight) Stakeholders on Endangered Species

When you decide to dedicate your career to environmental advocacy, you know the job will involve tackling some difficult issues and you know many people are going to disagree with you.  I think that’s great. The best ideas usually include a variety of opinions and viewpoints.  While I welcome a debate on complex environmental issues, a recent op-ed on endangered species protection written by Jerry Patterson, Texas’ current Land Commissioner and candidate for Lt. Governor simply took my breath away.  While it’s possible there is more background his comments, it wasn’t included so I took it at face value.I should start by stating that this post is based on two basic assumptions: 1)...

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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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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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