A new podcast released today highlights the increasingly visible issue of water inequity in Texas and the people leading the fight to overcome it. The state’s water woes have been in the spotlight this month with Winter Storm Uri leaving millions of Texans without water and millions more under a week-long boil-water notice. The new series, entitled The Gulf Between, is produced by the Texas Living Waters Project and explores the intersection of racial, social, and environmental issues within the world of Texas water.
“Climate-fueled extreme weather events and the pandemic are magnifying long-running patterns of inequity in Texas,” said Amanda Fuller, who leads the Texas Living Waters Project as the director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Texas Coast and Water Program. “This series explores what exactly is at stake in the region including equitable access to water, flood protection, and resilient infrastructure. We must urgently focus on those most hurt by environmental injustice to ensure all Texans can thrive.”
The show features a series of interviews with experts and community leaders who have spent years tackling water and environmental equity issues in Texas. Each episode explores a topic critical to the region’s future including: disaster response, community buyouts, water affordability, infrastructure inequity, ecosystem restoration, access to nature, indigenous communities, collective memory, and community engagement.
The first episode features an interview with Austin City Council Member Greg Casar on the ongoing post Winter Storm Uri water crisis in the city’s low-income neighborhoods. Additional episodes include discussions on changing attitudes towards equity in the environmental conservation sector and infrastructural racism in Houston’s floodscape.
“Many of the leaders working for environmental justice in Texas deserve a brighter spotlight,” said Jonathan Seefeldt, communications manager for the program. “The podcast will help a broader audience to hear about the exciting equity work that many are quietly doing in the Texas water sector. We need to learn from and follow their examples.”
“Many of us in the conservation world and beyond need to listen to these voices,” said Jennifer Walker, deputy director of the program. “We need to consider and learn from broader perspectives and adjust our approach to ensure all Texans are better prepared to face the coming decades of storms and megadroughts.”
The Texas Living Waters Project is a collaboration between the National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter, Galveston Bay Foundation, and the Hill Country Alliance. This year it celebrates two decades of working to ensure fresh water and healthy rivers for all Texans.