In 2015, Water, EPA Dominated Environment News

Texas Tribune, December 22, 2015

Even though the yearslong drought broke this year amid torrential rains and deadly flooding, water remained a huge issue and point of contention for Texas in 2015. Several controversial water supply projects in Central Texas grabbed headlines. And many people along the Texas-Mexico border don’t have access to water, period. Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton spent much time suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over a slew of new regulations.

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Increasing water demand prompts study of seawater desalination

My Statesman, December 1, 2015

Highlighting the ongoing quest to find new sources of water in an increasingly thirsty state, the Texas Water Development Board on Tuesday announced it will lend $2 million to the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority to complete a feasibility study on a potential seawater desalination plant.

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New desalination plans carry promise, risks

The Daily Texan, November 20, 2015

After the floods in May and recent rains, it’s easy to forget that Texas was, not so long ago, in a serious drought.  In fact, the drought hasn’t ended, and even when it does end, our state will still need to find freshwater resources to meet the needs of a growing population and booming economy.  And we will have to do this while protecting the rivers, springs and lakes that make Texas a beautiful and healthy place to live.  We must remember that developing new water resources can be costly in many ways, and regulators must take steps to minimize those costs.

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opinion

Abilene does not need Cedar Ridge to fulfill water needs

Abilene Reporter News, November 15, 2015

Earlier this month, the Brazos G Regional Water Planning Group approved the 2015 Brazos G Regional Water Plan, with the price tag going up again on the proposed Cedar Ridge Reservoir.

Being included in the regional plan doesn’t necessarily mean that the reservoir will be built — that’s up to the Abilene City Council. It’s time for Abilene residents to take a close look at the $290 million cost to build Cedar Ridge Reservoir — you’ll learn that building it would be a waste of Abilene residents’ money.

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Saltwater barrier may also block freshwater inflows

Corpus Christi Caller-Times, November 11, 2015

Saltwater kills many freshwater organisms and threatens drinking water, so it is smart to prevent bays from backing up into rivers. But at the same time freshwater is necessary for the health of saltwater ecosystems, so it is equally smart to keep rivers flowing into the sea.

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Attorney brings whoopers into water fight again

Victoria Advocate, November 11, 2015

In the words of Mark Twain, whisky is for drinking and water is for fighting over. And, Houston-based attorney Jim Blackburn is again reminding officials that, under the Endangered Species Act, wildlife, too, have a role in the fight.

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New plan would lessen LCRA obligation to release Highland Lakes water

Austin American Statesman, November 3, 2015

Reinforcing the clout of Austin and other Central Texas lakeside communities, a new water management plan that could get state approval Wednesday would make it less likely for downriver rice farmers and wildlife to get pulses of freshwater from the Highland Lakes in coming years.

If you think of the Colorado River as a car, and the Lower Colorado River Authority as its driver, then the water management plan is the driver’s manual.

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LCRA denies records request; environmental foundation threatens litigation

Bay City Tribune, October 28, 2015

HOUSTON – The Matagorda Bay Foundation’s (MBF) concern about the environmental health of Matagorda Bay was reignited last Thursday, October 22, when the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) refused to release basic hydrology models as part of an open records request. Instead, the LCRA is asking the Attorney General whether it has to give the models to MBF or can keep them confidential indefinitely.

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Water Board Moves to Resolve Reservoir Conflict

Texas Tribune, September 10, 2015

Disagreeing with Dallas-Fort Worth-area water officials, the Texas Water Development Board decided on Wednesday that a years-long conflict over a yet-to-be-built reservoir in the region’s 50-year water plan is serious enough that it should be resolved.

The water-planning agency voted unanimously to deem a disagreement between two contiguous water-planning regions in North and Northeast Texas an “interregional conflict,” setting into motion a third-party mediation that must begin by Oct. 5.

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