In the News

SAWS drops plan to secure state loan for Vista Ridge pipeline Utility wants control issue settled

San Antonio Express News, May 13, 2016

The San Antonio Water System has decided not to apply for a low-interest state loan to finance part of its work on the Vista Ridge pipeline project.

Many people following the proposed 142-mile water pipeline from Burleson County expected SAWS to file a full application for a $127 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board through the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas, or SWIFT, program.

The loan would have financed construction and equipment to integrate the pipeline into SAWS’ main system, supplying up to 16.3 billion gallons of water per year.

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opinion

Commentary: Support 1x per week watering for Austin

Austin American Statesman, May 4, 2016

If you’re over 30, you may remember a time when lawn watering entailed dragging a hose around the yard at dusk. If you’re like us, you did this as a chore and didn’t realize that using the hose was one of the most water conserving ways to irrigate lawns and trees. As Austin grew, and irrigation systems proliferated, the city began using significantly more water to keep the same landscape areas green. But over the last several years, we all cut back to once a week watering. Our lawns did not suffer, and we conserved a lot of water — enough to fill Lake Austin every year!

Austin City Council is considering a proposal to limit outdoor watering with automatic irrigation systems to once per week on a permanent basis.

Austin is ready for this. We’ve learned from the drought and should prepare for the next one. It’s the smart thing to do. Our rivers and lakes are ready for this. Our pocketbooks are ready for this and we need to get behind this effort.

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Climate-Driven Water Scarcity Could Hit Economic Growth by Up to 6 Percent in Some Regions, Says World Bank

World Bank, May 3, 2016

WASHINGTON, May, 3 2016 – Water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change, could cost some regions up to 6 percent of their GDP, spur migration, and spark conflict, according to a new World Bank report released today.* 

High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy, says the combined effects of growing populations, rising incomes, and expanding cities will see demand for water rising exponentially, while supply becomes more erratic and uncertain.

Unless action is taken soon, the report says, water will become scarce in regions where it is currently abundant – such as Central Africa and East Asia – and scarcity will greatly worsen in regions where water is already in short supply – such as the Middle East and the Sahel in Africa.

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County utilities losing millions to leaky pipes

Galveston Daily News, April 30, 2016

Galveston County is losing as much as $9 million worth of water each year, largely due to leaks and breaks in the water systems.

Across the county, the equivalent of nearly 3,000 Olympic-size swimming pools of water escapes from leaks or breaks in distribution systems yearly, according to a Daily News analysis of water audit reports kept by the Texas Water Development Board.

In La Marque, the amount of water lost in 2014 accounts for more than half of the treated water the utility buys. In Galveston and Texas City, audit reports from recent years indicate about a fifth of the water those utilities purchase is lost before making it to the tap. That number hovers closer to 8 percent 2014 in League City, according to the audits.

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Texas Environmental Flows Initiative innovates sustainable water usage, honored by White House Water Summit

The University Star, April 4, 2016

The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State and initiative partners were honored by the the White House Water Summit for their innovation in securing sustainable water resources.

The Meadows Center was recognized for committing to the development of the foundational science and market analysis to initiate a water-transaction market in Texas for the benefit of bays and estuaries.

Sharlene Leurig, Texas Environmental Flows program director, makes sure the scientists, legal experts and all other people looking to help get the work they need to reach their goal of finding and purchasing water for the environment in Texas.

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Stressed Texas Rivers Could Mean Too Little Water For Galveston Bay: The future health of Galveston Bay may be threatened by a lack of fresh-water. It’s an issue at the center of “water use” rules under revision in Austin.

Houston Public Media, March 22, 2016

Galveston Bay took a hit back in 2011 during the big drought. So little freshwater was coming into the bay from the Trinity and San Jacinto Rivers that it became saltier than what sea creatures consider ideal.

“One of the key species that suffer the most are oysters,” said Paula Paciorek, Water Resources Coordinator with the Galveston Bay Foundation. She told News 88.7: “Oysters don’t do well in high salinity levels.”

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Participation flowing for Pflugerville Drop by Drop program

My Statesman, March 7, 2016

Last spring, Linda Ramirez ripped out a section of St. Augustine grass in her backyard and planted drought-resistant shrubs and trees to reduce her water usage — and the city of Pflugerville paid half the cost.

Ramirez received the extra funds through Pflugerville’s Drop by Drop Landscaping Rebate Program, which has been available to Pflugerville water customers since 2001. The program is a way to encourage water conservation by using drought-tolerant plants in landscaping and beautify the city, said the program’s manager, Eddie Garcia.

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Habitat changes force waterfowl to flee the coast by large amount

Houston Chronicle, March 2, 2016

So, where were all the ducks?

Waterfowlers who hunted on Texas coastal prairies, marshes and bays frequently asked that question during the recently ended 2015-16 waterfowl seasons. After all, North America’s duck population is at a 60-year high, the wetlands along the Texas coast have for millennia been the winter home of the bulk of the millions of ducks that migrate down the continent’s Central Flyway, and the region long has been the center of the state’s waterfowl and waterfowling universe. But this year, coastal waterfowlers grumbled, there just didn’t seem to be nearly as many birds in the region as in past years.

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River authority and whooper fans unite

Caller-Times, February 23, 2016

The Aransas Project and the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority have come to an agreement over environmental flows for whooping crane habitat in the San Antonio Bay estuary.

A news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Meadows Center in San Marcos to explain how the two organizations are joining forces, according to a news release from the river authority.

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UT study: More development regulation needed

The Herald-Zeitung, February 19, 2016

BULVERDE — A major new study on protecting the Hill Country from unrelenting population growth and land development was unveiled for Comal County residents Thursday evening.
“People love this place and they really want to be here and appreciate the beauty that the Hill Country has to offer, but if we’re not prepared to deal with growth and manage it effectively, we have the potential to love this place to death”

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