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One Water in Action: Credit Human’s Light, Beautiful Footprint on San Antonio’s Pearl District

From a distance, the new Credit Human building in San Antonio, looks fairly non-descript. You might notice the solar panels crowding the rooftop, but this is a credit union, after all, how interesting can it be? Step a bit closer though, and you’ll start to notice unusual details…very unusual details. A fountain built to mimic aquifer rock, glazed ceramic medallions of bats and frogs, Harry Potter-esque hanging lanterns, tiles full of painted scenes from San Antonio lives, purple pipes snaking in and out of towering cisterns. The remarkable aesthetic and engineering flourishes on the exterior are signs of a much deeper re-think in how a building inhabits a space. “When we decided to build our...

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Austin is forging a path to a reliable water future

Six short years ago, Austin confronted a grim water future. The long dry tail of the 2011 drought combined with record population growth and increasingly concerning climate projections to paint an anxious picture of the city’s water supply. The Highland Lakes, the sole source of water for the city, were very low and facing an uncertain future.  Yet, thanks to an all-hands-on-deck lets-do-this effort, the city rallied from those bleak months, drawing on extensive community and expert feedback to put in place the pieces that would result in an ambitious water supply plan known as Water Forward which was adopted by City Council December 2018. Lake Travis during the 2011 drought, 46.52 feet below normal....

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Testifying at the Texas Legislature: We Need to Save Our Fragile Water Infrastructure

COVID-19's economic fallout is straining communities’ ability to protect their water. It's exacerbating historic, systemic inequities in Texas related to access to clean water, flood protection, and sewage service. Communities of color and under-resourced rural areas are particularly at risk. The American Rescue Plan Act provides funds specifically to help communities recover from problems like this, in fact, it explicitly authorizes water infrastructure projects. Despite this, the allocations proposed so far in the Texas Legislature do not include a single cent towards water. On Thursday, Oct 7, the National Wildlife Federation's Amanda Fuller spoke to senators about the need to rescue our fragile water infrastructure....

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Inadequate Environmental Flow Protection Threatens Keystone Species in Texas

Six Texas Freshwater Mussels Proposed for Endangered Species Protection Poor implementation of environmental flow protections is contributing to economic and environmental damage throughout Texas’ river basins, as illustrated by this month’s proposed listing of six native Texas freshwater mussel species for protection under the Endangered Species Act and this week’s announcement of the extinction of the San Marcos gambusia, a fish native to Central Texas.  According to new analysis by the National Wildlife Federation, implementation of Senate Bill 3 (SB 3, enacted in 2007) — Texas’ landmark regulatory process for flow protection — is faltering on multiple levels, with adopted flow standards falling far short of those recommended by scientists and ten-year review windows arriving...

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American Rescue Plan Act Presents Historic Opportunity for Texas to Invest in Its Fragile Water Infrastructure

Texas lawmakers have a unique opportunity to address the state’s fragile water infrastructure with the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) explicitly authorizing the use of federal funds to make needed investments in water and sewer infrastructure. A broad coalition of rural, conservation, and equity-focused organizations today released a set of proposed guidelines to help Governor Abbott and the Texas Legislature take full advantage of ARPA funding for water infrastructure purposes. “Texas’ water infrastructure needs significant investment,” said Amanda Fuller, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Texas Coast and Water Program. “A single winter storm knocked out water service for more than half of all Texans. ARPA funds should be welcome news in this regard....

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New report: PACE financing can help scale water reuse projects in Texas

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). So concludes a new report by the National Wildlife Federation and Texas Water Trade highlighting 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). “Increasing the development...

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New film captures Houstonians’ memories of water outages during winter storm Uri

Uri precipitated by far the largest and longest interruption in public water supply in modern Texas history. Six months later we asked Houstonians about their time without water. The result is a short film that captures a few glimpses of a difficult time that reminded all of us of the under-appreciated daily value of water: https://vimeo.com/595637106 Want to hear more stories from Uri? Check out the extended version of the film: https://vimeo.com/595634078 What can Texas lawmakers do in response to our water infrastructure failures during Uri? Check out our list of recommendations. ...

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Water Utilities Are Helping Each Other Prepare for Climate Change

As part of our effort to help water utilities build resilience in the face of increasing climate and population pressures, the Texas Living Waters Project is featuring the Water Utility Climate Alliance (WUCA) this September. WUCA is comprised of the nation’s largest water utilities working together to provide leadership and collaboration on climate change issues affecting the country's water agencies. These utilities have hands on experience planning for and managing water supplies in the face of a changing climate. Heather Dalrymple, climate consultant for WUCA-member Austin Water, discusses below the alliance's new guide for utilities to integrate climate adaptation into planning efforts.   Record droughts, floods, heatwaves, and fires have grabbed headlines across the country...

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What the ‘Code-Red’ Climate Report Means for Texas

The 2021 IPCC report released this week has a clear message: just as smoking causes cancer, greenhouse gas emissions are creating a ‘code red for humanity.’ Most discussions of the report so far have rightly focused on its clarification of the global picture. But what exactly does the report mean for Texas? Synthesizing IPCC data for the Central North America region, Dr. Arsum Pathak, Adaptation and Coastal Resilience Specialist for the National Wildlife Federation, has identified the following preliminary key takeaways for the Lone Star state: Texas Will Get Hotter Under all future scenarios laid out by the report, there will be an increase in both the intensity and frequency of extreme heat events for the region....

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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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