The National Wildlife Federation’s Texas Coast and Water Program urged the Texas Legislature, in policy priorities unveiled today, to promote water supply innovation, enable sustainable management of groundwater, invest in state parks, advance natural solutions to flooding, and protect river flows. The program also emphasized 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.
“With our booming population and intensifying swings between drought and flood, Texas needs vision and leadership to ensure our rivers and streams continue to flow and our natural landscapes continue to protect us against flooding,” said Amanda Fuller, Texas Coast and Water Program director at the National Wildlife Federation. “We urge Texas legislators to demonstrate their support for our coastal and water resources, and the people, businesses, and wildlife that depend on them.”
“Our current regulations do not account for recent advances in water capture and reuse technology,” said Jennifer Walker, deputy director of the program. “We need to clear a legal pathway for sustainable initiatives, such as municipal wastewater reuse, in order to better equip our cities to deal with unprecedented population grown and looming megadroughts.”
The National Wildlife Federation has more than two decades of experience working on Texas water and wildlife issues. Its Texas Coast and Water Program promotes integrated urban water management and nature-based flood mitigation solutions to improve climate resilience in the state. The organization detailed seven policy priorities for the 2021 Texas Legislative Session, calling on elected officials to:
- Update regulations to promote water supply innovation
- Enable sustainable management of groundwater
- Invest in Texas parks
- Advance natural solutions to flooding
- Improve access to broadband internet
- Bring Texas up to speed with national aggregate mining standards
- Address issues of social justice and racial equity
Specific policy recommendations include removing regulatory hurdles to reusing municipal wastewater, establishing an advisory committee to study surface water and groundwater interaction, and reauthorizing the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for another twelve years.