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Texas is Losing an Average of Over 50 Gallons of Water Per Connection Every Day

New Analysis Shows the State Could Unlock Major Water Supplies by Addressing Aging Water Infrastructure After more than a year of research, analysis, and dialogue, we are thrilled to release today our major new study exploring water loss mitigation as a supply strategy for Texas. Texas water systems are losing at least 572,000 acre-feet of water per year — more than the 2020 annual water demand of Austin, Fort Worth, El Paso, Laredo, and Lubbock combined. Fixing leaks and replacing aging infrastructure could cut those losses in half and deliver more than four times the volume of water that new reservoirs have provided since 2010. If Texas utilities mitigate losses to a good performance level (i.e.,...

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Key Solutions to Texas’ Water Woes Are Simpler Than We Think

The National Wildlife Federation was recently invited to give testimony to the Texas Legislature on the condition of Texas' water and flood infrastructure and cost-effective ways to improve it. Jennifer Walker, deputy director of NWF's Texas Coast and Water Program, spoke to the Texas House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee on Aug 24, 2022. Both a recording of Walker's testimony and her full written remarks are included below: https://youtu.be/KgXEOYPtTEc Jennifer Walker, National Wildlife Federation, Testifying on Interim Charge 3: Examine the condition of Texas’ water and flood mitigation infrastructure capabilities and consider future infrastructure needs. Evaluate sustainable funding sources to provide for water project development and infrastructure repair and replacement. Examine and make recommendations for...

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Thinking Beyond and Before the Ike Dike: Why Texas Needs Holistic Solutions to Coastal Protection

The National Wildlife Federation was recently invited to give testimony to the Texas Legislature on the proposed Texas Coastal Barrier — a sprawling project that includes the so-called 'Ike Dike' concrete gate system. Danielle Goshen, policy specialist at the Texas Coast and Water Program of the National Wildlife Federation, spoke to the Texas House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee on Aug 23, 2022. Goshen noted the many concerns around the project's increasing costs, decades-long construction timeline, and limited efficacy. She encouraged the state to think beyond the single storm surge project proposed by the Army Corps, and take a more holistic approach to protecting the Texas Coast for our communities, our economy, our way...

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Texas Can Address Mounting Water Woes with ‘Historic’ Influx of Funding

Public Hearing Provides Chance to Maximize Support to Disadvantaged Communities The first influx of funding for water infrastructure from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act could help transform aging Texas water systems buckling under pressure from deepening drought, extreme heat, and continued population growth. The Texas Water Development Board, the stage agency charged with dispersing the $2.9 billion designated for Texas water infrastructure over the next five years, will hear public input for the first time on how it plans to spend the first round of the new federal funds this Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 10 a.m. CDT. “From outbreaks of toxic algal blooms this summer to last year’s winter storm outages, it is clear...

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Be Heard on Environmental Issues Shaping Texas’ Water Future

We’ve written before about the state’s Sunset Review process, a top-to-bottom look at the work of — and the need for — various state agencies. This year, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ, is one of the agencies under review. The next Sunset Review of the TCEQ will probably be sometime around 2034, so this is an especially important opportunity for anyone who cares about Texas’ environment to make their voice heard. The Texas Water Development Board is also going through Sunset Review — read more about that here. As the Sunset Commission staff notes in the executive summary of its report, the TCEQ is specifically tasked with promoting public health and safety, protecting...

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Texas Needs Your Help Shaping Its Water Future

State government decisions can have a big impact on our lives, our communities, and the natural resources we cherish. It can be hard to know how real people can similarly shape those decisions. Luckily, in Texas, we have a process called Sunset. 97 percent of Texas is currently experiencing drought. Every 12 years or so, the Legislature takes a hard look at the need for each and every state agency — why it exists, and what value it delivers to Texans. This is called the Sunset Review process, and it includes a deep dive into each agency’s mission, performance and operations. It generally culminates with a bill in the state legislature that keeps the state agency...

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Report Finds Onsite Water Reuse Can Boost Affordable Housing, Spread Climate Resilience

Download the report Strategic integration of onsite water reuse can bring financial and quality-of-life benefits to affordable housing residents, according to an extensive new study by the National Wildlife Federation. The report finds onsite collection, treatment, and non-potable use of local water sources such as air conditioning condensate, rainwater, and graywater can pass on long-term savings to both residents and owners of multi-family affordable housing developments.  The authors also found that onsite systems in affordable housing help spread climate-resilient technologies to urban populations often passed-over in commercial water reuse and green infrastructure initiatives. “Onsite reuse can significantly contribute to the broader mission of affordable housing,” said Jorge Losoya, lead author of the report and a water...

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Texas Lawmakers Must Seize Historic Opportunity to Transform the State’s Fragile Water Infrastructure

Governor Abbott and Texas legislators should capitalize on the latest guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency and secure over $2 billion in allocated federal funds in order to transform the state’s fragile water infrastructure. The National Wildlife Federation’s Texas Coast and Water Program urges legislators to work with the Texas Water Development Board and draw on the EPA guidance to ensure all Texas communities have reliable access to clean drinking water. The EPA released a fact sheet to accompany its more in-depth memo detailing guidance on the State Revolving Fund implementation “Texas’ water infrastructure needs extensive investment,” said Amanda Fuller, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Texas Coast and Water Program. “A single winter storm...

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The Window to Save the Hill Country is Closing

Download the report to learn more about the pressures facing the Hill Country Booming population growth and sprawling development, groundwater depletion, changing climate patterns, extreme droughts and floods, and a unique set of policy challenges threaten the natural resources that define the Hill County region—resources on which millions of people rely. A recently released report from the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network (THCCN) sets a baseline for eight key metrics to examine the current state of conservation and growth in the Hill Country. What it reveals is a region at a crossroads, facing tremendous threats to its future. “This report makes it perfectly clear—the Hill Country’s breathtaking vistas, natural spaces, clear waters, abundant wildlife, starry night...

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