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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).

A new report by the National Wildlife Federation and Texas Water Trade highlights 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).

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The Texas Hill Country is prone to both prolonged drought and catastrophic flash floods. These extremes will only get more intense with climate change. This issue paper introduces some of the nature-based and green infrastructure strategies available to reduce the impacts of flooding in the Hill Country. These solutions can be implemented at multiple scales, from the site or building level, throughout a community, or across an entire region or landscape.

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The prized and productive wetlands, bays, and estuaries of the Texas Mid-Coast require decisive policy interventions to defend against multiple climate-related threats, according to this analysis from the National Wildlife Federation’s Texas Coast and Water Program.

While the study indicates the coast is changing at an accelerating pace, the authors emphasize end-of-century projections are non-static and adaptive solutions such as ecosystem-based investments this decade could help combat emerging threats and build resilience across the region.

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This annotated bibliography synthesizes recent studies and reports on the performance of natural and nature-based infrastructure. These resources can be used to inform the Regional Flood Planning Groups on natural infrastructure techniques as they develop flood management evaluations (FMEs), flood management projects (FMPs), and flood management strategies (FMSs).

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With hurricane seasons intensifying and built development proliferating, natural infrastructure represents a critical avenue for the Houston-area to both protect itself from future flooding and ensure livable green spaces for its communities.

This report provides an overview of natural infrastructure and associated terms. It outlines the benefits of this approach and highlights seven existing natural infrastructure projects in Houston. It also provides details on a number of proposed projects still open to funding.

The report was developed in collaboration with Bayou City Waterkeeper, Bayou Land Conservancy, Bayou Preservation Association, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Galveston Bay Foundation, Houston Advanced Research Center, Katy Prairie Conservancy, and the National Wildlife Federation.

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The polar vortex that descended on Texas from February 13 to 17, 2021 exposed not only the state’s ill-prepared electric grid, but also our aging, inadequate water infrastructure. As the Texas Legislature, state agencies, and local communities examine and address the failures that led to widespread suffering, loss of life, and economic harm during this winter storm and its aftermath, we urge decision-makers to consider how we might approach our water infrastructure differently as well.

We offer the following high-level policy recommendations to help ensure that all Texans have reliable access to safe drinking water, that their wastewater is properly treated, that the systems providing these essential services can quickly recover from shocks and stresses, and that our water utilities are equipped to adapt and grow from disruptive events.

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The Texas Coast and Water Program at the National Wildlife Federation (a founding member of the Texas Living Waters Project) presents here its policy priorities for the 2021 Texas Legislative Session. The program calls on elected officials to promote water supply innovation, enable sustainable management of groundwater, invest in state parks, advance natural solutions to flooding, and protect river flows. We also emphasize the pressing need to address social disparities, such as access to broadband internet, in order to improve public participation in ongoing planning processes related to disaster mitigation and natural resources.

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This first-ever Texas Living Waters Annual Report introduces readers to our work over the course of a transformative 2020. Our team nearly doubled in size as we doubled-down on our commitment to climate resilience, urban water management, and water for wildlife. We invite you to take a dive into Becoming Resilient to see where we’ve been this year and where we plan to go.

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