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Among the potential impediments to achieving the full intent of the Texas Senate Bill 1 regional water planning process are conflicts of interest held by the planning consultants, primarily large engineering firms. The regional water planning process was designed as a much-publicized “bottom up” approach to serve diverse interest groups representing the citizenry of the region at large.

In order for the regional water planning groups to bring their own diverse interests to bear and design a comprehensive water plan addressing the array of requirements, a premium value is attached to the provision of objective, unbiased information to the group by their consultant.

There appear to be two principal types of conflicts of interest which can impede the delivery of such unbiased information. I label these a) the “big ticket payoff” conflict of interest, and b) the “favored client” conflict of interest. Both of these, combined with the perhaps unavoidable predisposition of engineers towards “structural solutions,” have generally led to regional water plans with a heavy emphasis on building new infrastructure, little emphasis on progressive management of existing supplies, including water efficiency measures, and incomplete attention to environmental and cost issues.

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Texas’ bays, or estuaries, are places where rivers flow into the Gulf of Mexico. The mix of salt and fresh water in these areas provides essential habitat for oysters, shrimp and many species of fish. Migrating birds such as ducks, geese and the endangered whooping crane also depend on the bays for food and shelter. Not only are Texas’ bays vital for wildlife, they also support a large segment of the coastal economy.

This report evaluates how full use of existing water permits could affect freshwater inflows to the Texas coast and gives five of the state’s seven major bays — Sabine Lake, Galveston Bay, Matagorda Bay, San Antonio Bay and Corpus Christi Bay — a “danger” ranking.

Download report summary here, or download full report below.

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The purpose of this book is to provide guidance for citizens who wish to become active on water issues in Texas. It demonstrates how to influence decisions regarding water policy planning in this state. It includes basic information on campaign organizing, water management and water protection resources steps on how to affect decisions concerning public water supplies, and inspiring examples of successful grassroots activism on water issues.

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The Water Plan for greater Dallas/Fort Worth/North Texas (known as “Region C”) recommends harmful and expensive development projects like the Marvin Nichols dam 170 miles away on the Sulphur River and ignores cost-effective solutions such as water conservation and better use of exisiting supplies of water. The plan calls for spending billions of dollars on unnecessary projects at the expense of commonsense conservation measures that would protect private property and Metroplex pocketbooks, and conserve natural resources.

Demand that Region C revise their plan to eliminate unnecessary reservoir projects and focus on meeting reasonable water needs through more efficient management of existing water resources:

  • REDUCE WATER DEMANDS THROUGH MEANINGFUL CONSERVATION INCENTIVES AND PRACTICES – This is much less expensive than building new dams and pipelines. If Metroplex cities decreased water use by 22%, which would still leave per person use above ALL other major Texas cities, they still could grow as projected and there would be NO NEED for new reservoir construction [San Antonio lowered their per capita water use rate 30% in 13 years, while Region C projects an increase in use, currently 264 gal/person/day in Dallas!]
  • USE THE WATER SUPPLIES THAT ARE ALREADY DEVELOPED TO THEIR FULLEST EXTENT – The Dallas/Fort Worth/North Texas area has 126 billion gallons of unused supply in reservoirs, Using these supplies efficiently is a logical water management solution. Additionally, Lake Texoma could provide a tremendous quantitiy of water to meet future demands. The Region C Plan should seriously evaluate this option and make the best use of existing supplies.

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