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Conserving water is the most important thing we can do to ensure we always have enough. The Texas population is expected to nearly double by 20501. We can’t say the same for our water supply.
The only way to prepare for tomorrow is to conserve today. Making efficient use of our existing water supplies is the most economical and environmentally-sound way to provide water for Texas today and tomorrow. Between us, we can make sure there’s always enough.
The Texas Living Waters Project recognizes that we are at a critical point in our state’s water history, and we are committed to helping our state use water efficiently and responsibly.
We do this by:
Managing and protecting our water resources is one of the most critical issues facing Texas today.
As the state’s population grows, scientists also warn that Texas will likely experience longer and more severe droughts more often in the future. The impact on the state’s already stressed rivers, aquifers and other natural resources could be dramatic. In many river systems, the state has issued more water rights than would be available during dry years, meaning rivers could be pumped dry, while many aquifers are being pumped faster than rainfall can replenish them.
Given this emerging reality, Texas must manage its limited water supplies as efficiently as possible. Using water wisely is the most economical and environmentally sound way to ensure water is available to meet all critical water needs – including water to support healthy Texas rivers and bays.
Cities across the country have shown that water conservation is a cost-efficient way to meet increased water demands. Conserving waters reduces costs and postpones – or even eliminates – the need for expensive and environmentally-damaging water supply projects. These real-life examples demonstrate the potential savings:
San Antonio reported that spending an average of $1 per person on conservation programs saves $4-7 per person in water utility expenditures. In 2006, the city’s $4.4 million conservation program saved consumers approximately $308 per acre-foot (the equivalent of one acre covered by one foot of water). Comparatively, the cost of new surface water rights ranged from $400 to $1,500 per acre-foot, and the cost to purchase additional groundwater rights in the Edwards Aquifer was significantly higher.
Read more about San Antonio and water conservation.
A 2009 planning effort by the Lower Colorado River Authority, which manages the water supply of the Lower Colorado River Basin, estimated that conservation programs would cost roughly $400 an acre-foot. Comparatively, the river authority’s options for new pipelines and reservoirs would cost roughly $2,000 an acre-foot.
You can conserve water from home every day. It’s as easy as small actions like taking shorter showers, watering the lawn only when needed, and only running the dishwasher when it’s full.
Want to make your water conservation promise official? Pledge to conserve water for Galveston Bay by clicking here.
You can also help with water conservation in your city by finding out how well your utility conserves water, and then following up with utility officials to let them know why it’s important to you that they improve.
In 2013, Texas voters overwhelming approved Proposition 6. Approval of “Prop 6” indirectly transferred $2 billion from the state’s “rainy day” fund into the recently created State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT). This fund is used to provide low-interest loans to public entities for water supply projects in the state water plan. When Texas legislators proposed Prop. 6 to the voters in 2013, they also passed House Bill 4 (HB 4). HB 4 tasks Texas Water Development Board with administering the SWIFT and sets the framework for decision-making about how SWIFT monies may be used to assist water projects, including a provision that not less than 20 percent of SWIFT funds be used for conservation or reuse projects. Read more on HB4 and the development of the draft rules.
The Texas Living Water Project has developed a guide to navigating the SWIFT application process for utilities that are considering accessing these funds for conservation and/or reuse project. The guide can be found here.