The 88th Legislative Session of Texas comes at a decisive moment for the state’s water future. Our water infrastructure is aging and ill-equipped to deal with the rapid rise in population. Development over aquifers and wetlands threatens our water supply and natural flood protection. Climate change continues to intensify drought, floods, and heat. We call on the Legislature to seize the momentum and become water champions for Texas by: 1) investing in our water infrastructure, 2) addressing water loss, 3) strengthening the role of state agencies in protecting our water resources, 4) enhancing Texas’ resilience to drought and flooding, and 5) preserving Texas’ natural heritage by prioritizing protection of waterways.
Download our 2023 Legislative Agenda to see how lawmakers can make this a transformative session for Texas water!
Texas water systems lose at least 572,000 acre-feet per year —about 51 gallons of water per service connection every day. That’s enough water to meet the total annual municipal needs of the cities of Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso, Laredo, and Lubbock combined. It’s a lot of water.
Our first of its kind in-depth analysis quantifies just how much water each region of Texas is losing, explores how much could be cost-effectively saved, and outlines how the state can set itself onto a path of more efficient, effective water infrastructure.
The bottom-line: addressing water loss is one of the most effective ways Texas can ensure it has enough water for its growing population.
Based on a wide-ranging set of interviews and case-studies, this nationwide study finds strategic integration of onsite water reuse can bring financial and quality-of-life benefits to affordable housing residents. Onsite collection, treatment, and non-potable use of local water sources such as air conditioning condensate, rainwater, and graywater can pass on long-term savings to both residents and owners of multi-family affordable housing developments.
In addition, onsite reuse in affordable housing helps spread climate-resilient technologies to urban populations often passed-over in commercial water reuse and green infrastructure initiatives.
The report details the benefits of onsite reuse; identifies existing barriers; describes available funding sources; outlines specific recommendations for cities, utilities, and developers; and provides a wealth of case studies of existing affordable housing projects that have successfully integrated onsite water reuse.
Texas is a state with a wealth of natural beauty, including a remarkable bounty of flowing streams and rivers and productive bays and estuaries along the coast. The health of those streams, rivers, and estuaries is at serious risk from flow depletion in the absence of effective flow protections. Recognizing that risk, the Texas Legislature, in 2007, enacted potentially far-reaching legislation (Senate Bill 3) providing for protection of environmental flows in Texas rivers and streams (instream flows) and into bays and estuaries (freshwater inflows). The first environmental flow standards were adopted in 2011 and the ten-year review period for those initial standards provided for in SB 3 is now upon us.
In anticipation of that review process and the consideration of potential revisions to those standards, this summary provides a snapshot of the state of SB 3 implementation 14 years after passage and offers recommendations for steps to be taken by TCEQ and by the Texas Legislature to address shortcomings in implementation and seize the unrealized potential of that legislative effort.
More than a decade in the making, this report provides a comprehensive analysis of the history and current state of Texas’ landmark environmental flows regulatory framework established by Senate Bill 3 (SB 3). Noted environmental flows expert, Myron Hess, assesses the mandates laid out by SB 3 and their state of implementation a decade into the process.
While his findings are deeply concerning, Hess also lays out a path forward, providing practical, workable solutions for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the state legislature to revive the SB 3 process and protect the state’s endangered natural heritage.
Texas lawmakers have a unique opportunity to address the state’s fragile water infrastructure with the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) explicitly authorizing the use of federal funds to make needed investments in water and sewer infrastructure. A broad coalition of rural, conservation, and equity-focused organizations today released a set of proposed guidelines to help Governor Abbott and the Texas Legislature take full advantage of ARPA funding for water infrastructure purposes.
The polar vortex that descended on Texas from February 13 to 17, 2021 exposed not only the state’s ill-prepared electric grid, but also our aging, inadequate water infrastructure. As the Texas Legislature, state agencies, and local communities examine and address the failures that led to widespread suffering, loss of life, and economic harm during this winter storm and its aftermath, we urge decision-makers to consider how we might approach our water infrastructure differently as well.
We offer the following high-level policy recommendations to help ensure that all Texans have reliable access to safe drinking water, that their wastewater is properly treated, that the systems providing these essential services can quickly recover from shocks and stresses, and that our water utilities are equipped to adapt and grow from disruptive events.
The Texas Coast and Water Program at the National Wildlife Federation (a founding member of the Texas Living Waters Project) presents here its policy priorities for the 2021 Texas Legislative Session. The program calls on elected officials to promote water supply innovation, enable sustainable management of groundwater, invest in state parks, advance natural solutions to flooding, and protect river flows. We also emphasize the pressing need to address social disparities, such as access to broadband internet, in order to improve public participation in ongoing planning processes related to disaster mitigation and natural resources.
The @TWDB will hold a Board meeting at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 8, and will receive comments from the public regarding the implementation of the Texas Water Fund. https://www.twdb.texas.gov/board/2024/02/board/index.asp
Texas has had two record breaking hot and dry summers in a row, and 2024 could continue the trend. Our rivers, wetlands and ecosystems are vulnerable to the natural and man-made consequences of these extremes. Read on @texas_tribune / @insideclimatenews: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/22012024/texas-low-water-reserves/
Hey folks, sorry about the radio silence! Our account was recently hacked. We apologize for the content you may have received while we attempted to recover our account. Back to regularly scheduled Texas water updates shortly!