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Author: Jennifer Walker

Texas utilities, it’s time to put together your SWIFT plan

When it comes to cutting unnecessary water use, utilities can play a major leadership role – that’s why it’s a big deal that Texas water utilities have begun using the State Water Implementation Fund (SWIFT) to invest in conservation, for projects big and small. Water conservation is necessary to make sure Texas has enough water, now and into the future. If your utility is investing in water efficiency in a big way, using SWIFT’s low-interest loans can save money.  Depending on the scale of the project, the reduced interest rates available through SWIFT can save significant money for both the utility and ratepayers. SWIFT savings City of Bedford saved $11 million on their $90 million...

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Houston after Harvey: From chaos to opportunity

Waiting for Hurricane Harvey to hit the Gulf Coast was like being on the Titanic – trapped and reduced to intense anticipation, all too aware that Houston would flood in a matter of hours. On Friday afternoon of Aug. 25, I was one of the many Houstonians who anxiously gathered our families together as Hurricane Harvey approached the Corpus Christi coast. We were defenseless to the oncoming deluge, waiting impatiently as news reports filled our homes with grim reports about Houston’s inability to cope with an event of this magnitude. When Harvey landed in the Rockport and Port Aransas region, the first symptoms of the storm clearly materialized in a matter of minutes. While there...

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How does the PACE program work?

Texas finds its PACE when it comes to water efficiency

Water and financial savings are adding up across Texas as more property owners and developers use PACE Financing for water-efficient upgrades inside and outside their buildings. The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program has now financed six projects that are in the works in the Dallas, Central Texas and Houston areas. While the Simon Property Group is leading the way with five projects, more than any other group in Texas, Alterra International recently closed the largest PACE-financed project in Texas with their renovation and redevelopment of the Butler Brothers Building in downtown Dallas. The Simon Property Group PACE projects include the Barton Creek Square Mall in Austin, Lakeline Mall in Cedar Park, the Round...

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Drought conditions need to be taken into account for drought response plans

For proactive drought response, we need to stop ignoring actual drought

High temperatures and high pressure cells are returning to many parts of Texas, where they are projected to stay around for a while. As these weather conditions quash any chance of precipitation and usher in our typical triple-digit summer days, intensifying the evaporation from our lakes and rivers, we need to be ready for drought. Drought is an undeniable part of life in Texas and impacts many facets of life, including water supplies. Even though drought is no stranger to Texas, we still have work to do when it comes to proactively protecting our rivers and water supplies. If we want to be ready to conserve water and make it safely and efficiently through...

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Invader zebra mussels threaten our native Texas species

Zebra mussels, a species native to the Black and Caspian Seas, were first identified in Texas in 2009. Now, only eight years later, these mussels have spread over five different river basins and infested 11 Texas lakes: Belton, Bridgeport, Canyon, Dean Gilbert, Eagle Mountain, Lewisville, Randell, Ray Roberts, Stillhouse Hollow, Texoma, and Travis. As innocuous as these striped invaders may seem, their rapid expansion across Texas doesn’t just put a damper on boating – it puts our state’s native mussel species at risk. Map of invasive zebra mussel findings in Texas. Courtesy of TPWD Why do our native mussels matter? Texas is home to 53 of the 300 species of mussels...

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