Issue Papers and Publications

The Unknown River of Central Texas: Characterization of the James River

April 2010

The James River, a tributary of the Llano River, is a relatively unspoiled gem in an arid and remote region of Central Texas. This little known spring-fed river provides exceptional aquatic habitat and flowing waters for domestic, livestock and wildlife purposes, even during drought.

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Drop By Drop: Seven Ways Texas Cities Can Conserve Water

March 2010

This report recommends seven common-sense water conservation measures. It reviews 19 cities around the state to see where these measures are in place and concludes that, with some exceptions, most of the cities surveyed are not doing enough to make the most efficient use of existing water supplies.

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New Ways to Put Water Rights to Work for Fish and Wildlife in Texas

March 2010

Managing and protecting our water resources is one of the most critical issues facing Texas today. As the state’s population increases, human demands for water will grow. But we still need to ensure that there is adequate water for agriculture, industry and the environment. This guide provides information on how to turn existing water rights permits into instream flow permits or amend an existing water rights permit to include instream use.

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Down to the Last Drop

April 2009

After years of well-founded best “guestimates”, local groundwater managers are currently seeking to bring more science and technical analysis to bear on defining how the state’s aquifers will be managed into the future. The resulting groundwater availability decisions will determine whether essential flows the aquifers provide to the state’s springs, creeks, and rivers can be sustained. Texas must ensure that the groundwater resources we’ve just begun to fully understand are managed in a way that will support the water needs of our state and our environment into the foreseeable future. This report offers a number of recommendations to accomplish this goal.

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Brackish Groundwater Desalination

April 2009

The 2007 Texas State Water Plan identified brackish groundwater desalination as one of the water supply strategies to be used across the state to meet the State’s projected water demands over the next 50 years. Brackish groundwater desalination is the process of treating water that contains a high level of total dissolved solids to a quality where it may be used for drinking water or other beneficial uses.

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Energy-Water Nexus in Texas

April 2009

This report is the first in a series designed to explore aspects of the energy‐water nexus in Texas. It examines the water requirements for various types of electricity generating facilities, both for typical systems nationwide and here in Texas. It also addresses the use of energy by water supply and wastewater treatment systems, comparing national averages with Texas‐specific values.

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Texas Municipal Water Conservation

January 2009

Ensuring that Texas is sustainable in the 21st century depends in large part on smart management of the state’s water resources. The 2007 Texas State Water Plan projects that by 2060, municipal water- use will double from 3.77 million acre-feet to almost 8.26 million acre-feet. However, these numbers do not incorporate the full potential of advanced water conservation technologies.

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Desalination: Is it worth its salt?

December 2008

This report on brackish and seawater desalination aims to help decision-makers and the public evaluate the possible role of desalination in addressing future water demands in Texas and elsewhere. It describes desalination as “one tool in the toolbox for meeting water supply needs” but points out that the brine disposal, impingement and entrainment of aquatic and marine life, and increased electrical needs are issues of concern with desalination that need to be addressed in deciding whether to undertake a desalination project.

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A Characterization of the South Llano River, Its Springs, and Its Watershed

September 2008

The South Llano River is a valuable resource to Central Texas, providing recreational opportunities, habitat for unique plant and animal communities, and water supplies to local and downstream communities. The protection and preservation of the flow of the South Llano River is an environmental, economic, and cultural concern. The most effective method for protecting and preserving these flows may arise from action plans developed by local and regional stakeholders. This report attempts to facilitate potential stakeholder efforts by providing a characterization of the South Llano River, its springs, and its watershed, as well as suggesting recommendations to address identified water management issues.

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