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.... Read More
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... Read More
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.... Read More
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... Read More
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:
Want to hear more stories from Uri? Check out the extended version of the film:
What can Texas lawmakers do in response to our water infrastructure failures during Uri? Check out our list of recommendations.
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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... Read More
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.... Read More
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 healthy, it will go a long way towards ensuring a resilient future... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More