Conference Materials: SWIFT Funding Workshop: Focus on Water Conservation Projects

The REC of Grapevine
1175 Municipal Way
Grapevine, TX 76051
June 23, 2016
10 AM - 2:30 PM

The SWIFT Funding workshop covered topics on evaluating options to take advantage of SWIFT funding for water conservation. These topics were based on questions such as: Is your utility considering whether SWIFT funding from the Texas Water Development Board is an appropriate funding source to for managing your water supplies? Fellow colleagues presented on the ins and outs […]

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What San Antonio should learn from Melbourne

San Antonio Express News, May 29, 2016

San Antonio just made it through one of the worst droughts in Texas history. Climate change means we’ll have more — unpredictably longer and more intense. Is San Antonio prepared? Nope. And the San Antonio Water System is leading us the wrong direction.

Express-News staff writer Brendan Gibbons’ recent front-page article about summer water consumption between 2011 and 2015 gives clues about why. Drought preparedness requires real conservation — ongoing commitment to keeping all the water we have, and guarding our aquifers and their recharge zones.

How well did San Antonians do?

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Report: Texas Must Increase Water Conservation Efforts

Texas Tribune, May 18, 2016

Most water utilities in Texas need to “substantially increase” their conservation efforts, according to a recent review of more than 300 city utilities by the Texas Living Waters Project, a consortium of environmental groups.

Among the state’s larger cities, Austin topped the list of those with strong conservation efforts claiming 90 points out of a possible 100. Kingsville ranked lowest, receiving just 10 points.

The Project’s Water Conservation Scorecard looked at how well utilities comply with state reporting requirements, whether they limit outdoor watering and how much water disappears from their distribution systems.

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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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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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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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The Southwest is Swallowing Texas: As grass gives way to desert across the Lone Star State, the nation’s fastest growing cities may be left high and dry.

U.S. News & World Report, February 3, 2016

The High Plains begin around the 100th meridian. It’s where the verdant green of the Gulf of Mexico and Southeastern U.S. gives way to arid scrub, shortgrass and prickly pear cactus – where riders on horseback in the 1800s, nearly a century and a half before satellite mapping, were able to trace the border between these two regions as they split Oklahoma from the Texas Panhandle.

These days, the meridian’s more or less paralleled to the east by Interstate 35, a steel-and-concrete vine that connects the Texas cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, San Marcos, Austin and San Antonio. Each ranks among the fastest-growing cities in America, their reservoirs reliably refreshed by rainwater.

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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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