In the News


Water is not a commodity to be pumped to depletion

San Antonio Express News, March 27, 2017

A recent commentary in the Express-News by Simon Sequeira, the CEO of Quadvest Water & Sewer Utility in Magnolia, attempts to blame all of the state’s water issues on groundwater conservation districts, or GCDs.

The commentary (“The next generation of water wars; Governmental greed siphoning dollars, future from Texans,” March 5) states, “Many of these districts were created to prevent the big cities like Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio from coming into their county and taking their water.”

I can agree that many GCDs were created in response to movement of water from rural to urban counties; however, the motives were to prevent the unfettered pillaging of water without any regulatory constraints or concerns about the impact on local landowners and natural resources. In other words, GCDs were created to protect private property rights of every landowner, not just those who want to pump the aquifer to extinction and sell that water for a profit.


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UT students should take steps to reduce water consumption

The Daily Texan, February 21, 2017

You are probably well acquainted with the cartoon raccoons in the Kinsolving and J2 Dining halls that lightly shame you for wasting food. But their judging stares neglect one of the biggest sources of waste on campus: water.

A study from Arizona State University revealed that college students use approximately twice as much water as the typical American to cover the same necessities. Although the study did not delve into the cause of the excess water usage, our demographic obviously has room for improvement. Awareness alone could cut down on much of the waste. Since most college students do not pay their own water bills — and do not have parents to scold them into conservation — they do not have to face their own indulgence. Merry Klonower, Director of Communications at the Texas Water Development Board, emphasized that small actions by individuals can “accrue into more impactful changes.”

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Protecting the drops we drink: Who owns Texas water?

The Eagle, January 17, 2017

As Texas population continues to increase, so will demands for water. The answer to the question of who owns Texas water will continue as a point of argument.

Water availability has become such a critical issue that many statewide meetings, legislation and court cases revolve around the subject. A recent state-wide conference, devoted to water, was the Texas Section Society of Range Management annual meeting held in Uvalde. The opening remarks presented by Charles Porter addressed the question of water ownership.

Porter suggested looking at three geological water containers – natural surface, diffused surface and groundwater – to determine ownership. Each container has different ownership and regulations.

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Environmentalists skeptical of Ike Dike

Houston Chronicle, January 5, 2017

GALVESTON – Plans for building a massive storm-surge protection system for the Houston area are rushing ahead before officials determine whether the project could harm Galveston Bay, environmental groups say.

The Sierra Club and the Galveston Bay Foundation, the environmental groups most closely watching the planning process, worry that there’s been too much focus on how to build the so-called Ike Dike and not enough on its impact on the bay.

“The Ike Dike has gained traction and local government support,” said Scott Jones, spokesman for the Galveston Bay Foundation. “We understand that, but we don’t think the environmental questions have been answered.”

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North Texas cities unite against swelling water costs, ask for review

Dallas Business Journal, December 16, 2016

The mayors of four North Texas cities — Garland, Mesquite, Plano and Richardson — have banded together to ask the Public Utility Commission to conduct a review of their water rates with the North Texas Municipal Water District.

The cities decided to band together to ask for a review of the rates set under a six-decade old water supply contract, which the mayors say is discriminatory.

In all, Garland, Mesquite, Plano and Richardson officials say their cities have paid a total of $178 million for water the municipalities did not use.

“We are losing tens of millions of dollars at the expense of our taxpayers because the North Texas Municipal Water District’s current rate methodology is outdated and does not incentivize water conservation,” said Plano City Manager Bruce Glasscock, in a statement.

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Native fish and wildlife belong to all Texans, December 14, 2016

Texas is known for its vast land and abundant wildlife and fish, resources available for all to enjoy through hunting, fishing or wildlife viewing. Conservation of these resources for future generations results from a uniquely North American approach viewed as the most successful conservation program in the world.

This program is called the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, and its cornerstone is the Public Trust Doctrine. The Public Trust Doctrine means wildlife belongs to all citizens, and its management is entrusted to the government to benefit present and future generations. The North American Model also is centered on the principle that fish and wildlife management must be based on sound science, and that science should drive regulations rather than emotions or short-term economics.

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Effort to fight Arundo ramps up along Hill Country rivers

The Examiner, December 9, 2016

A coalition of government and nonprofit conservation groups is expanding the war on Arundo (Arundo donax), an invasive plant that threatens to take over scenic Hill Country rivers. It’s one aspect of a broader statewide effort made possible by a record $6.3 million to control invasive aquatic species approved by the Texas Legislature for the 2016-17 biennium, an increase from $1.1 million in the previous two-year cycle.

Like fire ants and feral hogs, Arundo does not belong in Texas, but it’s threatening to take over, alter the shape and flow of streams and rivers, worsen erosion and flooding problems, and increase wildfire risk. Sometimes known as giant reed or Carrizo cane, this highly invasive plant is native to the Mediterranean area, but was introduced to the American Southwest in the 1800s as an ornamental plant. Growing in dense thickets up to 30 feet tall (or taller), Arundo chokes out deep-rooted native vegetation that naturally anchors the riparian area, absorbing water, dissipating stormwater energy, and reducing erosion. Instead, Arundo-infested areas are prone to bank undercutting and erosion, leading to reduced water quality. Arundo is also a “big drinker,” using up much more water than the diverse, native plant community it displaces—some estimates suggest that tall, dense thickets of Arundo can use 48 acre-feet of water per acre per year.

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Walker and Redmond: Water utilities can help Texas conservation efforts

Houston Chronicle, December 6, 2016

Ensuring Texas will have abundant water to meet the needs of both humans and wildlife is a huge challenge for the Lone Star State. Fortunately, all of us can play a role in reaching that goal because conserving water is one of the cheapest and most effective tools we have to protect our water supplies.

Many Texas water utilities are now taking this message to heart and are investing in conservation in a big way thanks to low-interest loans made available through the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) – a program that was created by the Texas Legislature and subsequently approved by voters in 2013.

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Walker and Spencer: Include needs of wildlife in Texas’ water plans

Trib Talk, November 2, 2016

No one needs to tell Texans that water is a big deal — we know it in our bones. After enduring the drought that stretched from 2011 to 2015, we also know that planning for our future water needs is an urgent matter.

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is in the process of revising the rules governing water planning. This is a big deal too. If we don’t manage our most precious resource carefully Texas faces a future of constricted growth, economic decline and a diminished natural heritage.

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Water pipeline construction likely to begin early next year. SAWS forgoes 365-day sprinkler restrictions

San Antonio Express News, November 1, 2016

Construction could begin as soon as January or February on a 142-mile pipeline to deliver water to San Antonio as the company in charge prepares to hit a key financial milestone this week.

On Tuesday, the San Antonio Water System’s board of trustees voted to allow SAWS President and CEO Robert Puente to give Garney Construction clearance to begin work on the pipeline, which would deliver up to 16.3 billion gallons of water per year from aquifers below Burleson County. SAWS hopes the pipeline will make up 20 percent of its supply when water begins flowing in 2020.

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