Adler drops surprise $720M mobility bond proposal

Adler drops surprise $720M mobility bond proposal

Mayor Steve Adler has blasted into the middle of the ongoing conversation about a November mobility bond election by proposing an estimated $720 million package of projects along Austin’s most vital arterials. In a closed-door speech before the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Adler called for the city to “focus on our major streets.” He said that the way to do that is to pay for the projects outlined in the corridor studies that have been completed or are still…

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In Weighty Water Ruling, Texas’ High Court Backs Landowner

In Weighty Water Ruling, Texas’ High Court Backs Landowner

The Texas Supreme Court has strengthened protections for landowners who don’t have rights to the water underneath their property. In a ruling Friday, the state’s highest civil court said Texas’ “accommodation doctrine” should also apply to groundwater, in addition to oil and gas. The decades-old doctrine requires mineral owners — considered the dominant estate — to accommodate the surface owner’s existing use of the land if at all possible. While it doesn’t always stop drilling or pumping operations, the doctrine gives surface…

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Why become a Texas Master Naturalist?

Why become a Texas Master Naturalist?

The Hill Country Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists are now accepting applications for the class of 2016. The mission of the Texas Master Naturalist program is to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the State of Texas. Why become a Texas Master Naturalist? This year’s 2016 Class Director Diana Armbrust shares her transformation and learning curve from managing…

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Unplugging the Colorado River

WEDGED between Arizona and Utah, less than 20 miles upriver from the Grand Canyon, a soaring concrete wall nearly the height of two football fields blocks the flow of the Colorado River. There, at Glen Canyon Dam, the river is turned back on itself, drowning more than 200 miles of plasma-red gorges and replacing the Colorado’s free-spirited rapids with an immense lake of flat, still water called Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reserve. When Glen Canyon Dam was built in…

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The Texas Water Development Board launches TexasFlood.org

The Texas Water Development Board launches TexasFlood.org

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is pleased to announce the development and launch of TexasFlood.org. The website will serve as a centralized location for flood-related data and information on what to do before, during, and after a flooding event. TexasFlood.org will serve as a one-stop shop for statewide stream gage, weather, radar, and precipitation data. The data will be featured on an interactive map, making access to data on rising rivers, streams, and reservoirs more easily accessible to Texans.…

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Brimming wastewater ponds must be lowered to avoid ‘catastrophic failure’

Brimming wastewater ponds must be lowered to avoid ‘catastrophic failure’

It seems most bodies of water in Travis County are filled to the brim, including wastewater ponds. The West Travis County Public Utility Agency has two full wastewater holding ponds, resulting from ongoing heavy rains. The utility must lower the water levels in those ponds to avoid overflow, said General Manager Don Rauschuber. The utility will release about 2 million gallons from the two ponds. This is the second “controlled treated effluent spill” by the utility this week. “The ponds are…

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A year after Memorial Day floods, Central Texas still picking up the pieces

A year after Memorial Day floods, Central Texas still picking up the pieces

  Homes destroyed. Lives stolen. Over Memorial Day weekend a year ago in Central Texas, disaster struck. On May 23, 2015, geologic factors, along with already-saturated ground, combined to produce a record-setting flash flood after heavy rain fell upstream of Wimberley in southern Blanco County. “We got so much rainfall in May, it just kind of set the stage,” said Nick Hampshire, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. “It couldn’t take anything. Everything that fell basically ran off, so…

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Water Symposium held in Junction

Water Symposium held in Junction

James Murr | The Junction Eagle | The Texas Water Symposium (TWS) series explores the challenges faced in providing water for Texans, and provides perspectives from policy makers, scientists, water resource experts and regional leaders.  The TWS is a joint effort by Texas Tech University, Schreiner University, Texas Public Radio, and the Hill Country Alliance.  The latest in the series was held at Texas Tech-Junction on May 18.  Mayor Russell Hammonds welcomed around 25 attendees to Junction and the symposium.…

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Maximizing storm water: Researchers at UTSA trying to purify dirty water faster

All this recent rain has researchers at UTSA excited. They are taking advantage of all the extra water to see how well they can decontaminate it and replenish our drinking supply. They were awarded a $42,800 grant from the San Antonio River Authority and Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance to do so. UTSA is on land that’s considered a ‘recharge zone’ for the aquifer that provides most of our drinking water in South Central Texas. Behind one of the parking lots…

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Study foretold Abengoa woes

Calvin Finch hates to say, “I told you so.” But he feels he should anyway. “Yeah,” Finch said, “and I’m disappointed that I can.” This week, the San Antonio Water System’s board of trustees voted to allow a Kansas City firm to take over the utility’s largest-ever pipeline project, a dramatic turn of events linked to the financial troubles of a firm first enlisted to build the 142-mile pipeline. Last year — months before Abengoa SA, a Spanish firm, fell…

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