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SWIFT Success Stories: Texas Cities Accelerate Water Conservation Projects with State Funding

By Sapna Mulki, Water Savvy Solutions & Meghan Bock, AIQUEOUS The State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) was passed by the 83rd Texas Legislature and approved by voters via a constitutional amendment in 2013. At the time, Texas was coming off the heels of one of the state’s worst droughts on record. Recognizing the vital role Texas water utilities play in protecting and strengthening Texas water supplies for decades to come, the Texas Legislature moved forward with the adoption of SWIFT to provide enhanced funding for the implementation of projects identified in the Regional and State Water Plans. A core component of the SWIFT legislation was its commitment to allocating at least 20% of...

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It Was Worth It : How A Small Water Utility Successfully Acquired a Loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund

By Sapna Mulki, Water Savvy Solutions Background: A small public water system located south of Austin, Texas, Creedmoor Maha Water Supply Corporation (CMWSC) serves an estimated population of 7,500 customers or 2,500 connections in Creedmoor-Maha. Like most Texas water utilities, CMWSC faces increasing pressure from ongoing costs associated with maintaining an aging system. The majority of CMWSC's 170 miles of water lines date back to the 1960's and are therefore reaching the end of their service life. As a result, the system is constantly being fixed for major leaks and pipe bursts, which has become costly and unsustainable - "It was like a whack-a-mole effect," said CMWSC Board President Bennie Bock, "when one [pipe] broke, another...

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Keeping Rivers Flowing in Texas

Summer is coming and that means beating the heat by spending time at the river. For my family, that means swimming in the Pedernales, fishing along the Colorado, and tubing in the San Marcos. Rivers play an important role in the lives of Texans all over the state. Rivers connect communities, provide vital fish and wildlife habitat and supply essential freshwater to feed the nursery areas in our bays and estuaries along the Texas coast. Unfortunately, as important as Texas rivers are, we cannot always assume that the water our natural systems need will be there. It takes proactive management, thoughtful policy-making and the hard work of people, governments and organizations that care about...

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Gulf Coast Water Providers get Immersed in Water Conservation

If there’s one topic that draws a crowd in Texas these days it’s how to meet our state’s water supply challenges. That’s why 150+ people turned out on a cold winter day in Houston for the 3rd Annual Gulf Coast Water Conservation Symposium, held on January 23rd.  This conference focused on the region that covers the Houston-Galveston area, including fast-growing suburban Brazoria, Fort Bend, and Montgomery Counties. The goal of the symposium was to provide area elected officials, senior government managers, water utility staff, business and community leaders, and advocates crucial information about water conservation best practices from state and national leaders so that they may plan for and implement programs that reduce water...

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State Officials Should Engage (Not Fight) Stakeholders on Endangered Species

When you decide to dedicate your career to environmental advocacy, you know the job will involve tackling some difficult issues and you know many people are going to disagree with you.  I think that’s great. The best ideas usually include a variety of opinions and viewpoints.  While I welcome a debate on complex environmental issues, a recent op-ed on endangered species protection written by Jerry Patterson, Texas’ current Land Commissioner and candidate for Lt. Governor simply took my breath away.  While it’s possible there is more background his comments, it wasn’t included so I took it at face value. I should start by stating that this post is based on two basic assumptions: 1)...

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