Water loss mitigation is finally getting the attention it deserves

Some great news for Texas’ strained water resources: after months of intense advocacy on addressing water loss in Texas systems, the Texas Living Waters team got a critical win yesterday as the House amended Senate Bill 28 to include water loss mitigation projects as an intended use of funds from the new Texas Water Fund.

We have worked extensively this session to get water loss mitigation into the center of the water supply conversation. The release of Hidden Reservoirs, our groundbreaking statewide analysis of water loss and recovery potential, spurred a flurry of conversations at the Capitol culminating this week in Representative Tracy King proposing a water loss mitigation amendment to SB 28:

Our work has shown 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.

“The numbers suggest water loss in Texas is as much an opportunity as it is a problem,” said Jennifer Walker, lead author of the report and director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Texas Coast and Water program. “Texas is both growing and drying, so it’s increasingly critical to ensure as much water as possible is reaching its intended destination. We thank Senator Perry, Representative King and the Texas House for their prioritization of this critical issue.”

Dive into the study that got the ball rolling this session:

A special thanks to the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation and the Meadows Foundation for their support of this study.

Note: lobbying efforts were supported by non-grant revenue.

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The Texas Living Waters Project is transforming the way we manage water so there will be enough for our wildlife, our economy, and our kids. Forever.

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