A never-ending thirst: Exploring Tarrant County’s quest for water

Star Telegram, May 16, 2016

If nothing is done to develop new water sources in North Texas, projections suggest that we’ll face a shortfall of 456 billion gallons by 2070.

That’s enough water to nearly fill the equivalent of five Richland-Chambers lakes. Richland-Chambers, the state’s third largest reservoir, is owned by the Tarrant Regional Water District, which provides raw water to almost all of Tarrant County.

The sobering projection is part of the 2017 State Water Plan that is updated every five years and spells out the state’s water needs, by region, for the next 50 years.

The Texas Water Development Board is expected to vote on the 2017 State Water Plan at its meeting Thursday.

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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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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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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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With water issues on tap, House committee looks at statewide solutions

Austin American Statesman, February 2, 2016

Anticipating a continuing tug of war over water — increasingly scarce in mostly dry, fast-growing Texas — a state House committee is examining the prospect of a statewide water grid.

A proposal to at least study the issue was killed in the last legislative session, the victim of a struggle that generally pits rural lawmakers against their urban counterparts. For years the state has been riven by dispute between the water haves and have-nots, with an alphabet soup of river authorities, groundwater districts and state agencies grappling with how to meet the needs of growing cities.

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With water issues on tap, House committee looks at statewide solutions

Austin American Statesman, February 2, 2016

Anticipating a continuing tug of war over water — increasingly scarce in mostly dry, fast-growing Texas — a state House committee is examining the prospect of a statewide water grid.

A proposal to at least study the issue was killed in the last legislative session, the victim of a struggle that generally pits rural lawmakers against their urban counterparts. For years the state has been riven by dispute between the water haves and have-nots, with an alphabet soup of river authorities, groundwater districts and state agencies grappling with how to meet the needs of growing cities.

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editorial

Swift action: Water utilities statewide need to develop plans for saving water.

Houston Chronicle, January 26, 2016

The state’s 2012 water plan forecasts that by 2060, water demand will increase by 22 percent, while water supply will decrease by about 10 percent. Yet billions of gallons are lost through leakage in our water utility systems every year. As Texas gets drier and adds population, every drop of water counts.

The state cannot meet the challenge of water supply simply through developing new sources. Utilities need to become more efficient and eliminate waste in their systems. Texas has secured a means to finance enhanced efficiency efforts. Voters approved a state constitutional amendment in 2013 to provide financial assistance for water utilities to pursue projects recommended in state and regional water plans. The state water implementation fund, or SWIFT, won the endorsement of environment groups, such as the Sierra Club, in part because the legislation accompanying SWIFT contained a conservation component, according to Ken Kramer, water resources chairman for the Texas Sierra Club.

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WaterSMART Grant Funding Available for Water Conservation and Energy Efficiency Projects

Imperial Valley News, December 14, 2015

Washington, DC – Last month, the Bureau of Reclamation invited states, tribes, irrigation districts, water districts and other organizations with water or power delivery authority to participate in its latest WaterSMART grant opportunity. A total of $21 million in cost-shared funding is available for water conservation and energy efficiency projects that help move the West towards resilience in the face of drought and ongoing imbalances between water supply and demand.

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Increasing water demand prompts study of seawater desalination

My Statesman, December 1, 2015

Highlighting the ongoing quest to find new sources of water in an increasingly thirsty state, the Texas Water Development Board on Tuesday announced it will lend $2 million to the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority to complete a feasibility study on a potential seawater desalination plant.

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