Author: Texas Living Waters

Testifying at the Texas Legislature: We Need to Save Our Fragile Water Infrastructure

COVID-19's economic fallout is straining communities’ ability to protect their water. It's exacerbating historic, systemic inequities in Texas related to access to clean water, flood protection, and sewage service. Communities of color and under-resourced rural areas are particularly at risk. The American Rescue Plan Act provides funds specifically to help communities recover from problems like this, in fact, it explicitly authorizes water infrastructure projects. Despite this, the allocations proposed so far in the Texas Legislature do not include a single cent towards water. On Thursday, Oct 7, the National Wildlife Federation's Amanda Fuller spoke to senators about the need to rescue our fragile water infrastructure....

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Inadequate Environmental Flow Protection Threatens Keystone Species in Texas

Six Texas Freshwater Mussels Proposed for Endangered Species Protection Poor implementation of environmental flow protections is contributing to economic and environmental damage throughout Texas’ river basins, as illustrated by this month’s proposed listing of six native Texas freshwater mussel species for protection under the Endangered Species Act and this week’s announcement of the extinction of the San Marcos gambusia, a fish native to Central Texas.  According to new analysis by the National Wildlife Federation, implementation of Senate Bill 3 (SB 3, enacted in 2007) — Texas’ landmark regulatory process for flow protection — is faltering on multiple levels, with adopted flow standards falling far short of those recommended by scientists and ten-year review windows arriving...

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American Rescue Plan Act Presents Historic Opportunity for Texas to Invest in Its Fragile Water Infrastructure

Texas lawmakers have a unique opportunity to address the state’s fragile water infrastructure with the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) explicitly authorizing the use of federal funds to make needed investments in water and sewer infrastructure. A broad coalition of rural, conservation, and equity-focused organizations today released a set of proposed guidelines to help Governor Abbott and the Texas Legislature take full advantage of ARPA funding for water infrastructure purposes. “Texas’ water infrastructure needs significant investment,” said Amanda Fuller, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Texas Coast and Water Program. “A single winter storm knocked out water service for more than half of all Texans. ARPA funds should be welcome news in this regard....

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New report: PACE financing can help scale water reuse projects in Texas

Water reuse projects are a proven solution to the state’s water availability challenges, but many more could be built if developers took greater advantage of a statewide financing program for water and energy conservation improvements known as PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy). So concludes a new report by the National Wildlife Federation and Texas Water Trade highlighting the vast potential – as well as the challenges – of using PACE to finance the upfront capital costs of water reuse, including development of onsite infrastructure for capturing and reusing non-potable water such as rainwater and air conditioner condensate as well as connecting and reusing a utilities’ recycled wastewater (known as purple pipe infrastructure). “Increasing the development...

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New film captures Houstonians’ memories of water outages during winter storm Uri

Uri precipitated by far the largest and longest interruption in public water supply in modern Texas history. Six months later we asked Houstonians about their time without water. The result is a short film that captures a few glimpses of a difficult time that reminded all of us of the under-appreciated daily value of water: Want to hear more stories from Uri? Check out the extended version of the film: What can Texas lawmakers do in response to our water infrastructure failures during Uri? Check out our list of recommendations. ...

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