Mighty Rio Grande Now a Trickle Under Siege

New York Times, April 12, 2015

FABENS, Tex. — On maps, the mighty Rio Grande meanders 1,900 miles, from southern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico. But on the ground, farms and cities drink all but a trickle before it reaches the canal that irrigates Bobby Skov’s farm outside El Paso, hundreds of miles from the gulf.

Now, shriveled by the historic drought that has consumed California and most of the Southwest, that trickle has become a moist breath.

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Water conservation by the yard-estimated savings from outdoor watering restrictions

March 2015

Outdoor water use, particularly lawn watering, accounts for almost one third of annual residential water use in Texas, and can represent a much higher percentage during our hot, dry summers. Studies show that homeowners have a tendency to overwater landscapes by as much as two to three times the amount needed.

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Rising acidity of Texas bays concerns scientists

Houston Chronicle, March 17, 2015

Many Texas bays are souring as fresh water grows scarcer because of drought and increasing urban demands, a change that could harm oysters and other shellfish and in time reverberate through the food chain, scientists reported Tuesday.

Researchers from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi found a steady rise in acidity from Galveston Bay to near where the Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico since the late 1960s. The problem becomes more severe as the coastline curves to the south.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, is the first glimpse at the changing chemistry of the bays and estuaries along the Texas coast. The full brunt of acidification will not hit for decades, but the state’s multimillion-dollar shellfish industry could be in harm’s way if the trend continues, said Xinping Hu, an oceanographer who was the study’s lead author.

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Pro-con: Should Victoria store water below ground?

Victoria Advocate, March 15, 2015

Texas’ near-record drought has forced public officials to take action to secure water for their communities.

The city of Victoria has looked at several options, including limiting water use and using groundwater exchange. An underground reservoir could help position the city to better handle another dry spell.

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Conference Materials: 2015 Gulf Coast Water Conservation Symposium

United Way Community Resource Center
50 Waugh Drive, Houston, Texas 77007
March 4, 2015
8 AM - 3:30 PM

The Annual Gulf Coast Water Conservation Symposium theme was “Reduce and Reuse: Making Water Conservation Work for the Gulf Coast Region.” Attendees learned about: -Results of a statewide poll focused on public attitudes and perceptions on water supply, water conservation and what utilities can do to promote water conservation -Proven methods from around the state to reduce outdoor […]

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Central Texas Drought Is Worst on Record

Circle of Blue, February 25, 2015

On February 18, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) in Texas, a water supplier to power plants and farms, and to Austin, the fast-growing capital, announced that the deep drought that has gripped the state’s Colorado River watershed since 2008 is the worst on record.

Along with California, which is grappling with its own water crisis, the two largest states in the country face historic dry periods that are testing in new ways the ability of managers to provide adequate supplies to swelling populations in an era of scarce precipitation.

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Upriver, a dispute brews on the Colorado over proposed dam

Austin American Statesman, February 20, 2015

Several years ago, at the height of the current drought, the river essentially dried up here, killing off 12,000 of the 100,000 pecan trees that belong to the Leonard family. The nearby town of Goldthwaite, 100 miles northwest of Austin and also dependent on Colorado River water, came within 90 days of losing its water supply altogether.

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Houston area accounts for bulk of state water program requests

Houston Chronicle, February 5, 2015

Houston, unlike other parts of drought-prone Texas, doesn’t appear in need of water. Rainfall is about normal for this time of year, and its reservoirs are full.

But good fortune hasn’t stopped the city and its suburbs from making an aggressive push for the first dollars available from the state’s voter-approved fund for new reservoirs, pipelines and other water-supply projects.

The Houston metro area accounts for more than half of the $5.5 billion in requests submitted this week to the Texas Water Development Board, the state’s water planning agency. The board has said it intends to provide up to $800 million in financial aid this year.

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Can sun and wind make more salt water drinkable?

National Geographic NewsWatch, February 3, 2015

Records dating to A.D. 200 show that sailors boiled seawater and used sponges to absorb fresh water from the steam. Today, desalination is more sophisticated: multistage flash distillation, reverse osmosis, electrodialysis, and more.

But one thing hasn’t changed since the time of the ancient mariners: It takes a lot of energy to squeeze drinkable water from salt water. So even though more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, civilization has quenched its thirst mainly by tapping the one percent of world water that is unfrozen and fresh.

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Report: Water Demand Offset Programs Offer a Path to Sustainable Community Development

Alliance for Water Efficiency, January 27, 2015

CHICAGO, Ill. (January 26, 2015) –  Amidst growing demands on water resources, water demand offset and water-neutral growth programs show promise as an effective way for communities to support sustainable growth, according to a new report released today by the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE).

As the U.S. population continues to grow and urbanize, planners and decision makers are becoming increasingly challenged with the task of accommodating new water customers with existing and possibly limited water supplies. Nearly 40 out of 50 states are experiencing or anticipating water shortages in the next decade, creating potential challenges for growing communities and industrial centers in both arid and traditionally water-rich regions.

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