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As Record Demand and Heat-Waves Loom, Texans Must Stop Over-Irrigating

Two times per week is more than enough for North Texas lawns As Texas emerges from a winter of deep-frozen quarantine and our western neighbors descend into a cauldron of drought and heat, the prospect of a green lawn outside our window feels unusually comforting. Before you greet the July sun with a full blast of irrigation, however, it’s worth remembering healthy lawns don’t need nearly as much water as you think. In a year and era of truly wicked problems, watering wisely is a remarkably simple way for North Texas to address our deepening water crisis. Irrigating no more than twice per week is not only more than enough to keep lawns...

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4 Ways Climate Change is Impacting Key Species in Texas Estuaries—and 4 Ways to Combat It

You haven’t truly seen a whooping crane until you’ve wandered onto the wetlands where they winter. The horizon is just a bit bigger there. Salt-marshes and ribbons of water unfurl endlessly in front of you, breathing easy behind the comfort of a seemingly impregnable line of barrier islands in the distance. This—the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Mid-Coast of Texas—is the only winter home of the only wild flock of whooping cranes on the continent. Perhaps it’s no accident the flock chose Texas. Everything about the crane is larger-than-life and stubbornly unique. Its elongated legs and neck make it the tallest bird in North America; it tops its bright white torso with a...

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10 Texas Climate Bills to Watch on Earth Day

Texas, as the saying goes, has four seasons: drought, flood, blizzard, and twister. This old quip has hit a bit too close to home for Texans this year. We are less than two months removed from a devastating polar vortex that could yet prove to be the costliest disaster in state history. Weeks after enduring some of the coldest temperatures on record, Texans were greeted by an unusually early spring with temperatures creeping close to 100 degrees Farenheit across the state. Meanwhile, despite recent heavy rain almost all of Texas remains in a state of abnormal dryness or drought. And lest we forget, the weather whiplash of early 2021 comes straight on the...

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Lingering Aftermath of Winter Storm Uri Exposes Vulnerability of Texas’ Aging Water Infrastructure

With ​38 public water systems in 31 Texas counties​ still issuing boil water notices three weeks after the onset of Winter Storm Uri, Texas Living Waters and partner organizations released a series of ​policy recommendations for addressing the state’s water infrastructure crisis. “The Texas freeze didn’t just expose an electricity problem in our state, it also showed why we need to better protect Texans’ access to clean drinking water,” said Amanda Fuller, Texas Coast and Water Program director at the National Wildlife Federation. “Many of the issues still afflicting Texans after the storm are a direct result of aging water infrastructure. Texas lawmakers should heed these recommendations and take the steps necessary to ensure...

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New ‘The Gulf Between’ Podcast Highlights Water Inequity in Texas

https://open.spotify.com/show/3wC3P3dwqw2T5E24ddndtR A new podcast released today highlights the increasingly visible issue of water inequity in Texas and the people leading the fight to overcome it. The state’s water woes have been in the spotlight this month with Winter Storm Uri leaving millions of Texans without water and millions more under a week-long boil-water notice. The new series, entitled The Gulf Between, is produced by the Texas Living Waters Project and explores the intersection of racial, social, and environmental issues within the world of Texas water. “Climate-fueled extreme weather events and the pandemic are magnifying long-running patterns of inequity in Texas,” said Amanda Fuller, who leads the Texas Living Waters Project as the director of the...

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Winter Storm Lays Bare Texas’ Climate Challenge: Invest Urgently in Resilient Water Infrastructure, Conservation, Equity

(Image: REUTERS/Adrees Latif) The National Wildlife Federation, a founding member of the Texas Living Waters Project, released the following statement on Winter Storm Uri: With millions of Texans emerging from a week of water and power outages and boil-water notices, the National Wildlife Federation urged state decision-makers to use the current legislative session to address the long-running water infrastructure challenges laid bare by Winter Storm Uri. With its record-breaking polar vortex crippling life for millions of households, the storm highlights Texas’ paired concerns of intensifying climate extremes and booming urban populations. The organization emphasized the urgent need to upgrade urban water infrastructure, improve conservation measures, support resilience, and address equity issues such as water affordability...

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National Wildlife Federation Urges Texas Legislature to Prioritize Climate Resilience, Sustainability, Water Solutions

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...

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Imagine a Texan Day Without Water

Today we join the US Water Alliance to #imagineadaywithoutwater. What would the Lone Star State be like without water? Let’s just say it would most definitely MESS with Texas. Water has, in many ways, made Texas what it is today. Not convinced? Let’s take a Texas-sized step back in time, oh say 65 million years ago. West Texas and the Panhandle are under water. Guadalupe Peak and El Capitan are flourishes in a 400-mile coral reef and El Paso is a dark ocean trough. Yes, at this point most of Texas IS water. Then, in a tectonic shift with a name worthy of an Elmer Kelton character, the Laramide Orogeny begins to push what...

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Harris County Passes Bylaws for Community Task Force to Create a More Resilient Future

Listen below as Texas Living Waters' Danielle Goshen discusses the reconstituted Harris County Community Flood Resilience Task Force with two of the architects of the Harris Thrives Resolution: Iris Gonzalez, Director of CEER, the Coalition for Environment, Equity and Resilience, and Jordan Macha, Executive Director of Bayou City Waterkeeper. Iris Gonzalez, Director of CEER, the Coalition for Environment, Equity and Resilience Jordan Macha, Executive Director of Bayou City Waterkeeper Danielle Goshen, Water Policy & Outreach Specialist, Galveston Bay Foundation On August 11, 2020, Harris County Commissioners approved bylaws to reconstitute the Harris County Flood Control District Task Force as the Harris County Community Flood Resilience Task Force (CFRTF). The previous task force, in place since 1972, was criticized for...

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Citizens Advisory Committees: A Rare Opportunity for Texans to Help Shape Pre-Disaster Flood Mitigation

In a rush? Listen to a 90-second audio summary of this article read by the author herself. Texans have a tangible opportunity to shape how their communities prepare for future heavy rain and flooding. It’s buried in a maze of bureaucratic language and comes with some unknowns, but it’s there and worth your time—especially if you live in a vulnerable area. This opportunity is called Citizen Advisory Committees, or CACs.  Texas has received an influx of nearly 4.3 billion dollars in the form of Community Development Block Grant – Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) funds set aside for flood mitigation projects in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, as well as 2015 and 2016 floods in Texas. These funds...

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