Time to increase volume on water conservation conversation

Galveston Daily News, August 4, 2015

It seems the drought in Texas is over and our water crisis has once again surpassed. We only talk about water – where it comes from, how much there is, how much we use – when we think we might be running out.

We need to turn up the volume on the conversation about water conservation before the well, literally and figuratively, runs dry.

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Group member says draft water plan not vetted adequately

Galveston Daily News, August 4, 2015

GALVESTON – The group charged with writing the region’s water blueprint has not properly vetted the hundreds of proposed projects in a plan spelling out how the area will meet its long-term water needs, according to an alternate member of the water-planning group.

Area water planners have not prioritized certain strategies or projects over others in their recommendations, which will make it more difficult for the state to efficiently tackle water issues, said Ken Kramer, a Region H water planning group alternate member and water resources chairman at the Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club.

Region H covers a 15-county area, including Galveston, Brazoria and Harris counties. The current draft for its five-year water plan has more than 700 projects and strategies. Some worry that including so many projects in the plan could lead to “overbuilding” and inefficiency.

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Conserving water is a smart strategy to employ before the next drought

Houston Chronicle, August 4, 2015

The last few weeks have been hot and dry in our area. Still depending on what indicators you use, most of Texas – including Harris County – is no longer experiencing drought.

That’s great news for our state, which has endured drought conditions since 2010.

The bad news: Harris County – along with the rest of Texas – will suffer through droughts again if history is any guide, and future droughts will likely be aggravated by climate change. A new bipartisan report states: “By the end of the century, the Southeast and Texas will likely experience dangerous levels of extreme heat.” Hotter temperatures will only increase the need for water for farms, fish and people.

Careful planning to take care of our state’s future water needs is crucial, especially given our area’s explosive growth.

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Some fear proposed regional water plan doesn’t conserve enough

Galveston Daily News, July 30, 2015

A regional water plan has some questioning whether the proposal puts too much emphasis on new water projects and ignores feasible conservation strategies.

The draft proposal for Region H — the 15-county area that includes Galveston — spells out how area water planners intend to meet the region’s needs.

It’s one of 16 plans from regions around Texas that comprise the 2017 state water plan, which provides a blueprint for how to quench increased water demand amid rapid population growth.

Water Board Set to OK $4 Billion in Projects

Texas Tribune, July 23, 2015

The Texas Water Development Board is poised to approve nearly $4 billion in financing for dozens of projects to increase water supplies across the state, and a handful to promote conservation.

But even environmental groups are praising the board for embracing every conservation project that sought state help, which they hope will inspire even more local water utilities to dip into a new pool of state money for water-related projects. 

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Texas planners look to aquifers to prepare for next drought

Austin American Statesman, June 14, 2015

The torrential storms of last month essentially ended one of Texas’ worst droughts, but much of the excess water has already flowed into the Gulf of Mexico or will evaporate by year’s end.

With a wary eye toward the next prolonged dry-streak that inevitably will come, some think expanding the use of underground aquifers may help slake the thirst of Texas’ rapidly growing population.

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Conservation stressed in new water efficiency plan

Community Impact, Impact News, May 13, 2015

For the first time since 2011 the North Texas Municipal Water District, which provides Frisco’s water, has terminated its drought restriction stages and moved into its normal water conservation plan.

The district’s conservation plan, which outlines the minimum guidelines for its member cities to follow, allows residents to water up to twice per week during Daylight Savings Time, except for the hours of 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

The city of Frisco, however, in an effort to continue to be a leader in water conservation, is asking its residents to use water more frugally than the NTMWD is allowing.

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State agency into buying water to leave in rivers

Aspen Journalism, May 2, 2015

Just one state agency has a mission that includes paying people to leave water in Colorado’s rivers for environmental reasons — and that can legally protect the flowing water — and that’s the Colorado Water Conservation Board, or CWCB.

However, the CWCB is also the state agency charged with planning for the state’s water supply, which is largely produced by taking water out of Colorado’s rivers.

And while the CWCB has, since 1973, created legal instream flow rights on 8,500 miles of streams and rivers and completed more than 20 voluntary water acquisitions, its instream flow program is not often positioned as the agency’s highest priority.

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