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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Despite recent rains that filled local lakes, water still a hot commodity

Killeen Daily Herald, January 23, 2016

Recent problems in Marlin, Texas, and Flint, Mich., brought drinking water disasters to the forefront, but we don’t have to look back far to find our own water problems.

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opinion

Antcliff: Conservation is key to water affordability

El Paso Times, January 9, 2016

In November, the Public Service Board held public hearings regarding El Paso Water Utilities’ proposed FY 2016-17 budgets. The PSB will be asked to consider the budgets at our Jan. 13 meeting. If approved and adopted, rates become effective on March 1, when the new fiscal year begins.

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opinion

Once a week watering should be enough for Austin

My Statesman, January 8, 2016

As the American-Statesman’s Andra Lim recently reported, city officials are exploring whether Austin should make its once-a-week watering restrictions permanent, but before they submit a formal proposal to the City Council, they want the public to weigh in on the issue. You can do so online or by attending one of four public meetings scheduled this month.

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Water Efficiency Networks: Regional Cooperation and Success on Water Conservation

By
December 18, 2015

Effective water conservation measures shouldn’t stop at jurisdictional boundaries such as city or county lines and knowledge shouldn’t either. This is the foundation of the Water Efficiency Networks in Central Texas and the Gulf Coast region. What is a Water Efficiency Network? A Water Efficiency Network (WEN) is a group of water providers and water […]

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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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opinion

Abilene does not need Cedar Ridge to fulfill water needs

Abilene Reporter News, November 15, 2015

Earlier this month, the Brazos G Regional Water Planning Group approved the 2015 Brazos G Regional Water Plan, with the price tag going up again on the proposed Cedar Ridge Reservoir.

Being included in the regional plan doesn’t necessarily mean that the reservoir will be built — that’s up to the Abilene City Council. It’s time for Abilene residents to take a close look at the $290 million cost to build Cedar Ridge Reservoir — you’ll learn that building it would be a waste of Abilene residents’ money.

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Program helps building owners save green to go green: Program can help make buildings energy-efficient

Houston Chronicle, November 6, 2015

The Jewish Community Center wanted to update its 50-year-old building, which still functions with original energy-guzzling mechanical and electrical equipment. But the project’s multimillion-dollar price tag would leave less money available to serve the group’s core mission, said Joel Dinkin, executive vice president of the center.

Now, the 200,000-square-foot building on South Braeswood plans to be one of the first to take advantage of a new program in Houston designed to ease the way for a long-term loan to pay for energy-efficient heating and electrical systems, lighting and a new roof. The community center’s leaders believe it will reduce energy bills and free up money for the services it provides, from early childhood development, senior care and support for arts and culture.

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