HCA is a passionate community caring for the unique features, spring-fed streams, heritage ranch lands, spectacular beauty and culture of the Texas Hill Country for the benefit of future generations. Join us.

Water Planning

News

June 24, 2014

Ensuring sufficient water supplies in Texas

As the current drought sweeping Texas and the Southwest continues, state leaders work to create rules and procedures for wisely administering the $2 billion in water infrastructure loan funds approved overwhelmingly by legislators and voters in 2013. Investments made through this program are critical to the future of Texas and will come none too soon, particularly those investments related to water conservation. Read more from the Houston Chronicle.

June 13, 2014

Hill Country Alliance Urges Texas Water Development Board to Make Conservation Priority in Funding State Water Projects

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) soon will announce draft rules and priorities for how SWIFT funds will be spent. In advance of that announcement, the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) convened a roundtable discussion in Blanco on June 4th where HCA board, advisory team and other water and land stewardship experts discussed a range of solutions that could save money and provide water to see the state through future severe droughts. Read more

June 9, 2014

Guarding San Antonio’s Eternal Water Future

“The path to a secure water future – and thus, our economic prosperity – was largely written when this area was first settled over the Edwards Aquifer centuries ago. Sound planning will be necessary to ensure clean and abundant water for generations to come and to maintain the aquifer as a primary strategic economic and environmental asset.” Read more from San Antonio Councilman Ron Nirenberg published in the Rivard Report.

May 27, 2014

Managers Discuss Hill Country’s Water Resources And The Drouth

The Trinity Aquifer and the Upper Guadalupe River are major components of the hill country’s available water supply. While these water resources typically do not receive as much attention as the more prominent Edwards Aquifer, for example, with the rapidly growing population in this part of the state their importance has never been more crucial. Read more from Livestock Weekly.

May 22, 2014

Environmental and economic protection through water supply development

Recent rainfall in Austin delivered more water to the Gulf, but little to lakes Travis and Buchanan, the area’s water supply reservoirs. With near average rainfall the last two years and the lakes continuing to fall, a historic flood or an extremely wet year is necessary to replenish central Texas water supplies and avoid the unthinkable. Read more from Tom Hegemier of the Central Texas Land Water Sustainability Forum.

May 13, 2014

TWDB adds new module on water demands to interactive 2012 State Water Plan website

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has developed an updated version of its Interactive 2012 State Water Plan webpage that will let water users statewide take an up-close look at data in the 2012 State Water Plan and how our water needs will change over time. The website, http://texasstatewaterplan.org, allows Texans to access information about water demands and needs (also referred to as shortages or deficits) around the state. The latest module release includes: data on water demand projections - the total amount of water that users will require (in each planning decade) to maintain business as usual through the drought, an additional map layer, and improved functionality that allows users to easily switch between types of planning data while viewing each geographic area of interest

May 9, 2014

Enlightening New Report on Texas Water Planning

A report issued by the non-profit Texas Center for Policy Studies (TCPS) finds that the current water planning process in Texas tends to over-estimate future water demand and under-estimate the potential for making better use of existing supplies. “This report shows that, with more reasonable demand projections and better use of conservation and drought management, the demand/supply gap in 2060 is less than one-half that predicted by the current 2012 State Water Plan issued by TWDB. Read more and download the report from TCPS. Read more from the Texas Tribune, “How Much Water Will Texas Really Need by 2060?”

Keep Rivers Flowing

“Innovative Strategies to Protect and Restore Rivers,” is a 3-part webinar series designed to inform people about strategies to ensure the future health of Texas’ rivers, bays and estuaries. If you missed session one, presentations delivered by Myron Hess, Andy Sansom and Brian Richter are posted on the Texas Living Waters website. Mark your calendars and register now for the next two sessions scheduled for May 28th and June 25th. Great work by our friends at Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation and the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.

April 21, 2014

TWDB opens SWIFT for public comment

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has opened their State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) rules making process for public comment. Participation in the rules making process is critical to ensure that the intentions of the State Legislature are carried out in the long-term administration of the State’s SWIFT funds. The HCA has submitted a list of recommendations to the TWDB that will help ensure spring and stream-flow sustainability in the Hill Country.

Hays County makes pitch for agency to secure, divvy up water

The Hays County Commissioners Court is actively searching for partners in a quest to supply water for the future growth expected west of I-35. Additionally, developers, water marketers, and local politicians are looking for new sources of water that will provide for that growth. The Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer east of I-35 is being marketed as an abundant resource ready for export into the Hill Country that would supplement the Hill Country’s already strained Trinity Aquifer. This Austin American Statesman article by Andra Lim reports on a recent Hays, Travis and Williamson combined County Commissioners Court meeting to explore the formation of a regional water grid that would pipe water from Bastrop and Lee Counties to points west of I-35.

March 3, 2014

TWDB launches Interactive State Water Plan Website

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has developed a new Interactive 2012 State Water Plan webpage that will let water users statewide take an up-close look at data in the 2012 State Water Plan and how our water needs will change over time. This data will arm communities with important information as they plan for projects to submit for State Water Implementation Fund (SWIFT) funding. Learn More

March 28, 2014

You Can’t Say They Don’t Care What You Think – Public Input on HB 4

Approval of “Prop 6” indirectly transferred $2 billion from the state’s “rainy day” fund into this new State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) to provide water for “non-rainy” days. But just moving money around doesn’t create water. That’s why what’s happening now at the state’s Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is so important. Read more from Ken Kramer at TexasLivingWaters.org.

February 26, 2014

Councilman Nirenberg asks key questions about San Antonio water and growth

How are the city’s current policies affecting water quality and supply? How do the city’s growth strategies impact our water security measures? Do these efforts complement or conflict with each other? And most importantly, how are ratepayers impacted? A full transcript of Nirenberg’s keynote to the Resilience Conference are posted on the Rivard Report. His must read request to Council related to the Edwards Aquifer and Water Supply Planning can be read here.

February 3, 2014

Who Controls Texas’ 2 Billion Water Fund?

“The chairmanship is a posting that could easily tumble into cynicism, to the knowing feeling that despite legislative assurances that portions of the water money will be used for the sort of conservation project that Delia, the 9-year-old girl, favors, most of it will benefit the engineering, real estate and lobbying firms that have the most to gain from massive water projects.” Read the full story in the Austin American Statesman.

January 27, 2014

Texas Water Report: Going Deeper for the Solution

The State Comptroller’s Office released “Texas Water Report: Going Deeper for the Solution” earlier this month. The report demonstrates the value of conservation investments and innovation in water research and technology. A website was also launched to compliment the report and provide ongoing education about water use- some great thoughts here worth reading: http://www.txwaterreport.org.

January 24, 2014

Under the surface - The legislature was looking in the wrong place when it tried to solve the state's water crisis

“Local conservation districts, democratic institutions that allow regional interests to control their own fate, should be permitted to continue their work. But they must be empowered by the Legislature to do their jobs properly, which will never happen as long as private property rights are allowed to trump all other considerations.” Read the full story from Texas Monthly.

January 22, 2014

San Antonio Seeks Ownership of Its Wastewater

A bid by San Antonio's water utility to declare ownership of the sewage it treats and releases has sparked a regional tug-of-war — one that could become more common as Texas' thirsty water users struggle to protect their supplies. Read more from the Texas Tribune.

Groundwater Desalination: An Under-Projected Source of Supply?

The challenges and opportunities in brackish groundwater desalination as a source of future water supply in Texas have been receiving considerable attention lately. With a Joint Interim Committee on Desalination, Senate Natural Resources Committee interim charges that include desalination, and a new Texas Desalination Association, this area will continue to be a hot topic. Read more from the Texas Center for Policy Studies blog.

Zero Net Water

Imagine a water management strategy that would accommodate growth and development without unsustainably pumping down aquifers or incurring the huge expense and societal disruption to build reservoirs or transport water from remote supplies to developing areas. Welcome to the concept of Zero Net Water. Read more from waterblogue.com.

December 5, 2013

A new path forward for TWDB

On Sept. 1, 2013, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) began serving the citizens of Texas under a new management structure with three full-time Board members. Between that time and the successful passage of Proposition 6 on Nov. 5, both the new Board members and agency staff have been hard at work preparing to implement the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas and to respond to other new legislation. Read More

November 27, 2013

Financing A Sustainable Water Plan for Texas: Part 3

In a series of three guest blogs, Sharlene Leurig, Water Program Director for Ceres, examines the details of Proposition 6, the water project financing measure approved by Texas voters on November 5th. Proposition 6 amends the Texas constitution to appropriate $2 billion from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to seed a new water infrastructure loan fund directed to water supply projects included in the State Water Plan. Click here to read.

November 25, 2013

Town's mayor promises fight on water line to S.A.

The mayor of Del Rio told San Antonio Water System trustees Monday that his city would use every legal means to block a proposed plan to pipe billions of gallons of water from Southwest Texas to San Antonio. The proposal, made by the V.V. Water Co., would send enough water for more than 150,000 households per year from drought-weary Val Verde County to SAWS by 2018. Red more from SA Express-News.

November 19, 2013

Sierra Club Releases Updated Report on Desalination

The Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter recently released an updated version of its popular report on desalination of seawater and brackish groundwater and surface water. Desalination: Is It Worth Its Salt? is a basic primer on desalination written for the general public. The report explores the environmental, energy, and economic issues surrounding desalination and provides an overview of desalination activities in Texas. Read More

November 14, 2013

Understanding Texas Water Planning can be a challenge

With groundwater and surface water treated as two independent water supplies under Texas law, it can be tricky to plan for our future generations. Citizen involvement is essential to achieving fair policy to sustain our water supply, a shared resource. A great place to learn is the Texas Living Waters Project - Tune in.

November 12, 2013

Guadalupe included in report about rivers threatened by water supply projects

Environmental leaders call on water board to focus Prop 6 money on conservation and avoid projects harmful to rivers. “The State of Texas has consistently declined to implement common sense approaches to to maintain in-stream flows to the bays and estuaries - to the point where coastal ecosystems are now in peril,” said Annalisa Peace, Executive Director of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance.” Read the story from Environment Texas.

November 2, 2013

With Colorado River in Trouble, Many Face Sacrifices

As with nearly every beloved Texas river, the 600-mile Colorado River — which flows from West Texas to the Gulf Coast — is under serious threat. Drought and surging population growth have taken their toll on the water’s flow and its wildlife and, by extension, the farmers and fishermen who rely on it. Learn more from the Texas Tribune.

October 15, 2013

Hill Country Alliance information about Proposition 6

Proposition 6, to provide some funding and implementation of the State Water Plan, will appear on the November 6th ballot. Does HCA support everything about the State Water Plan and everything in it? No. Does HCA support the need to prioritize the projects included in the State Water Plan and invest heavily in conservation? YES!” Learn more from HCA.

October 9, 2013

The Future of San Antonio: Water and Energy Needs Meet Land Use Planning

In her recent contribution to the Rivard Report, Amy Hardberger explains, “The success of the city depends on a plan that includes all aspects of planning including water and energy needs within a land use context. A city cannot predict demand of resources before first determining who it will service, which is dependent on land use decisions.” This is true over the entire Hill Country region, especially beyond the city limits where counties don’t have any land use planning tools at all. Read Amy’s article here.

October 8, 2013

Cutting off Matagorda Bay’s Water is Unwise and Inconsistent with Texas Law

On September 26th LCRA submitted a request to TCEQ to seek emergency authorization to allow them to diverge from their Water Management Plan and suspend river flows to Matagorda Bay. Learn more from TexasLivingWaters.org.

September 3, 2013

A message to the New Texas Water Development Board

Imagine the possibility of new, modern planning strategies to meet water needs and challenges ahead. Read this excellent blog post from Mary Kelly, Texas Center for Policy Studies.

July 24, 2013

Concerns About a Shrinking River Are Beginning to Heat Up

The struggle over water management of the increasingly dry San Saba may not be new, but the debate over whether the irrigators upstream need to be monitored more closely has heated up this summer. Read more from NY Times.

July 10, 2013

Why Should I Care About The Cost Of Tap Water?

Texas faces huge spending decisions to meet water supply challenges. All of us need to be aware of the possible implications of big infrastructure expenditures and ask the right questions to ensure that utilities and decision makers make the best decisions. HCA supports conservative solutions to meet future needs verses expensive plans to create new demand further from our cities and towns. Read Jennifer Walkers most recent blog here.

July 8, 2013

A Sustainable Water Plan for Texas

As with any major public policy initiative, the devil is in the details. So, what does HB 4 do and what can we expect to happen over the next few years? More from Texas Center for Policy Studies here.

June 13, 2013

After Rice Farmers Cut off Last Year, Water Use Cut in Half in Central Texas

A great illustration from State Impact of the change in water use with rice farmers cut off last year. Municipal use is now a much bigger piece of the pie, but how much of that 47% is used for watering lawns? Read more from State Impact here. Also, a telling report from Native American Seed about water conservation and taking care of your land. The TCEQ will conduct a public meeting regarding the LCRA water management plan on June 26th.

June 4, 2013

LCRA water plan needs more study with drought in mind, state says

Texas’ environmental agency is putting the brakes on a long-term plan for managing Central Texas’ main water supply, saying Monday that the managers of the Highland Lakes may not be adequately accounting for the kind of drought now affecting the region. More from Statesman.com.

April 29, 2013

Central Texas Water Coalition voices concerns with LCRA Water Management Plans

“The latest version of the LCRA Water Management Plan (WMP), which the TCEQ released for public comment on April 15, 2013, still raises serious concerns.” For example, recent years' data indicates the average inflows have significantly decreased but the plan still uses data from past assumptions. “Average inflows of 1,200,000 AF are assumed as compared to the recent five year average of 450,000 AF.” Read the full list of recommendations from CTWC.

SAWS turns off its Medina Lake tap

The San Antonio Water System has stopped drawing water from Medina Lake and shut down its treatment plant on the Medina River because of problems with the quality of the lake water. More from SA Express-News.

April 4, 2013

Whooping Cranes Are Important Sentinel of Texas Heritage

The recent federal court opinion holding the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) accountable for the deaths of 23 whooping cranes because of inadequate freshwater inflows to San Antonio Bay has generated a lot of concern and discussion. Read More

March 19, 2013

The Texas Water Plan - An 18 Year Old's Perspective

Are we listening to the next generation? 18 year-old Justin Wolfe writes, "The state’s next step ought to be to legislate groundwater as a public resource, so as to manage and regulate it effectively. Only by managing this resource can we ensure the longevity of our water system for generations to come." Read Justin's full article here.

March 6, 2013

Texas' Water Future: What if it isn't there - or it's too costly?

Seeing our legislature taking a good, long and hopefully, logical look at our State Water Plan and its financing is hopeful. But going for the big, expensive and glamorous water projects will often cause more problems and not reduce our appetite for what is now more precious than gold, oil or gas—water. Read more from Mike Mecke in Ranch & Rural living here.

February 13, 2013

Deep Conservation, the Surest Path to Sustainable Water

A new water dialog has been launched www.waterblogue.com. “The stock in trade of water conservation programs practiced by cities and other water supply entities only tinkers around the margins of the basic water management infrastructure system; they do not attempt to fundamentally alter that system...what we need, if we are to approach sustainable water, are dependable, enduring long-term savings that are inherent in our water management processes. To get there, we need to get more deeply into how we manage water, and to fundamentally reform those processes." Read More

January 15, 2013

Stubborn drought, dry forecast drives emergency request

Facing a record-breaking drought with no end in sight, the Lower Colorado River Authority has again asked the state to allow us to not release water from the Highland Lakes for most downstream farmers this year unless substantial rainfall replenishes the reservoirs. LCRA’s Board of Directors took that action Jan. 8 for the second year in a row. Last year was the first time most rice farmers didn’t get any Highland Lakes water. Read More

January 5, 2013

With drought persisting and pressure from customers, LCRA likely to cut off rice farmers in 2013

Frank Harren, a commercial Realtor who serves on the LCRA’s Travis/Austin Regional Council, an advisory board, calculates that lakes Travis and Buchanan now have 28 months of water if recent trends continue. "Releasing water to the rice farmers would shave five months from that total," Harren said. More from Statesman.com.

December 17, 2012

Behind the scary water headlines

It’s hard to look at any media in Texas today without being confronted by a dire outlook on the state’s water future. The jarring effects of a deep drought and the steep price tag attached to the state’s water plan definitely make for attention-grabbing copy. But for those who care about sustainable management of our limited water resources, property rights and fiscal discipline in the state budget, it’s worth a look behind those headlines. More from Statesman.com

Meeting Texas’ water needs

Local and regional water suppliers say that state financial assistance is needed to fund about half of the total $53 billion price tag for water infrastructure projects in the current State Water Plan. However, simply providing funding without improving the plan and carefully prioritizing projects to be funded would not be an efficient use of taxpayer funds. More from Caller.com.

December 3, 2012

You & the State water Plan - Water For Texas 2012

Milan Michalec, incoming President of the HCA Board of Directors, takes a look at water issues ahead of the 2013 legislative session. "Ground and surface water supplies originate with the rain that falls on the land and in turn, this water is captured by complex, large-scale ecological processes involving many variables, including plants, animals, soils and geology. We are every bit an integral part of the water cycle." Read the four-part series which will also be published in the Bandera County Courier beginning Thursday, December 6th.

How many drops does Medina Lake have left?

With the lake now below 11 percent of its estimated storage capacity, each exposed post and trunk raise the threat that local residents will run out of water, farmers will have to let land go fallow and San Antonio will lose part of its water supply. More from SA Express-News.

November 13, 2012

H2O4Texas Founder Discusses Water Shortages, Water Plan

Joey Park is the founding member of H2O4Texas. He told listeners at the South Texans’ Property Rights Association annual meeting that Texas has a water plan, though many people don’t know about it. “That brings us to a problem. That’s all it’s been: a book on the shelf for the last 10 years. We have not done anything about it except refer to it as our State Water Plan.” It is a serious document, though, with a list of things that need to be done, can be done and will be done to address the water needs of the state. It is missing a couple of things, namely funding. Read full Livestock Weekly article.

October 24, 2012

Why Texas Rice Farmers May Get Water Next Year

Once again, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) is coming under fire from some Central Texans. The reason? A recommendation by agency staff that could lead to water being sent downstream next year for rice farming. Read more from State Impact.

October 22, 2012

LCRA staff recommends against cutting off rice farmers for second year

In the most recent signal that drought conditions have eased since 2011, the staff of the Lower Colorado River Authority recommended last week that board members not seek emergency power from the state to cut off water next year for rice farmers. That’s a reversal from September 2011, when the LCRA’s board approved an emergency plan to cut off water to rice farmers if less than 850,000 acre-feet of water was stored in lakes Travis and Buchanan, the LCRA’s two main reservoirs, on March 1 of this year. More from Statesman.com.

October 15, 2012

SAWS told to better manage its water

“We need to be very careful in not misleading the people that we can build our way out of this problem,” he said, noting the loss of agriculture and undeveloped land is a direct threat to water quality and that no amount of reservoirs or pipelines could replace the water needed if Texas loses the natural systems it is dependent on. Read more from SA Express-News.

September 10, 2012

Relaxed rules on watering proposed

The San Antonio Water System is considering loosening watering restrictions that should make drought-weary residents happy, allowing them, for example, to wash their cars at home on Saturdays. Read full SA Express-News article.

New Braunfels water use surges

New Braunfels Utilities reported a surge in water use this week after experiencing a dramatic drop the week before when the utility banned the use of sprinklers and irrigation systems. Average daily water consumption by its 25,000 customers dipped to about 11 million gallons last week during the first-ever implementation of Stage 3 restrictions, said NBU spokeswoman Gretchen Reuwer. Read more from SA Express-News.

Arguments are heard in Bulverde water-rate case

The Coalition for Equitable Water Rates (CEWR), a ratepayers’ group fighting a proposed 71 percent water-rate hike, said in a press release that it presented arguments recently in a formal hearing of its rate case against Canyon Lake Water Service Co. (CLWSC). Read more from Herald-Zeitung Online.

September 6, 2012

Running the Rivers

Carrying water so precious it has been called liquid gold, the 23 major rivers in Texas flow past pastures and cities, factories and suburbs. These waters have endured the wettest and driest of years, but experts say the rivers’ biggest stresses now come from the multitude of demands from industries, municipalities, agriculture, environment and wildlife. Learn More

September 1, 2012

Texas lake levels down to 68% of total monitored capacity level

Texas Lake Levels around the state are alarming. Check out this telling graphic. Link to more water related information at http://WatrNews.com. See a snapshot of lake levels around the state. Good material within the rest of website as well.

August 27, 2012

Colorado River Basin public comments

Because different parts of Texas have unique water needs and challenges, the Legislature has parceled the state into manageable areas. Region K is one of 16 regional water planning groups created to craft policy at a local level. If you live in the Colorado River Basin, your region is K. Region K is now taking public input regarding non-municipal water demands for long-term future planning. Show Austin that you are paying attention. Learn more and voice your opinion.

August 14, 2012

Water Is Life

As stewards of more than 95 percent of the landscape in Texas, private landowners do have a huge role to play in our water future, and they are not getting much help. Texas loses rural and agricultural land faster than any other state, and this continued fragmentation of family lands is irrevocably impairing the function of our watersheds and aquifer recharge zones, as well as increasing nonpoint source pollution, which is runoff from agricultural fields, highways, parking lots and an increasingly paved-over countryside. Read full article by Andrew Sansom.

August 8, 2012

It’s All the Same Water

Texas is the only Western state where rule of capture is law. That may work well for property owners wanting to sell their groundwater, or sell their mineral rights, but not so great for most of the rest of the population that relies on water as a life source. Read full article by Joe Nick Patoski.

July 16, 2012

2012 Texas Water Plan identifies Hill Country water shortages

The 2012 Texas Water Plan produced by the Texas Water Development Board reports that water supplies for the Hill Country are insufficient to meet projected municipal (urban and rural) water demands during the next severe drought. The report identifies 60 Hill Country municipal water suppliers (i.e. city utilities and water districts) that will have water shortages. For many of the suppliers, the water demands are substantially greater than the supplies. View Presentation by Raymond Slade, HCA Advisory Board and Technical Team member.

Farmers, residents debate priorities for lakes

More than miles separate the rice farms of the Texas coast and the Highland Lakes, where the outward march of Austin is marked by each new house, strip mall and marina. They are divided by how to share the water of the Colorado River, pitting agriculture against recreation in a state that values both. Read more from SA Express-News.

July 10, 2012

Land Commissioner exploring desalination on State Land in Hays and Comal Counties

“The goal would be to provide water to a portion of Hays County where the General Land Office owns at least 4,500 acres. Bringing water to that land would make the property more valuable, increasing any asking price the land office sets for it,” Patterson said. Read full Statesman article here. “But isn’t desalination expensive and energy-intensive?” Learn more from StateImpact Texas.

July 2, 2012

Is Water the World's Next Global Security Threat?

On day five of the Aspen Ideas Festival, leading thinkers on water issues gathered on a panel to discuss the question, "Is Water the Next Global Security Threat?" “The key will be harnessing the political will to fix the problems and iniquities in our distribution system”. Read More

June 14, 2012

A little rain doesn't solve water problem

After the drought of record in the 1950s, the state responded by building a record number of new water projects. In fact, 65 percent of the reservoir capacity statewide was built between the 1960s and 1980s. As the fears of drought subsided, development of these projects also waned. Now, the Texas population is 25 million versus 8 million in the 1950s. Our industrial base is four times larger. The self-imposed moratorium on addressing our water demands needs to end. Read more from SA Express News.

June 12, 2012

Texas Gets Creative With Recycling Water

Reclaimed water "is a way to stretch our existing supplies and potentially avoid expensive infrastructure projects," said Myron Hess, the manager of the Texas water program for the National Wildlife Federation. Putting potable water on grass is especially wasteful, environmentalists say. Read more from Texas Tribune.

May 9, 2012

Water Rights – Who Makes the Decisions?

“We not only have to consider the main Guadalupe River flowing from western Kerr Co. to the Gulf, but the Medina, San Antonio, Blanco, Comal and San Marcos Rivers to deal with all water uses and flows. And, these rivers are all spring flow originated which ties river flows directly into groundwater use in the headwaters region.” Mike Mecke explains his disappointment in TCEQ proposal that doesn’t follow stakeholder recommendations. Read the full article here.

May 1, 2012

Will Our Rivers Flow to the Gulf? Speak up by May 14th

A Texas process is in place to make collaborative regional decisions about the health of our water systems – in order to work, citizens must be involved. The San Marcos River Foundation (SMRF) is one of the best regional examples of organized citizen activism. Proposed TCEQ management rules for the San Marcos River, (also the Colorado, Lavaca, San Antonio and Guadalupe Rivers) do not reflect the conservative and balanced goals set forth by stakeholders. TCEQ is proposing more business as usual permitting and withdrawals. People must speak up by May 14th. Learn More

April 26, 2012

TCEQ plan is a corruption of legislative order

The conservation community is reeling with outrage and disbelief over the unreasonable rejection of reasonable recommendations aimed at balancing the needs of man and nature with rational protections for river flow. Read more from Caller.com.

April 18, 2012

Proposed Rules Fail to Protect Central Texas Rivers and Bays

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) proposed a rule on Friday, April 13th that will determine the amount of water that must remain flowing in Central and South Central Texas rivers and into the region’s bays to sustain fish and wildlife populations. Unfortunately, this rule fails to include many of the protections recommended by the region’s stakeholder committees, leaving fish, oysters, whooping cranes and other wildlife high and dry. However, the good news is that there is still time to improve the rule by voicing support for stronger flow protections to the TCEQ Commissioners during the public comment period, which runs from now until May 14, 2012. Learn more from NWF.

April 13, 2012

TCEQ, stakeholders disagree on water

The amount of water that should be left in the San Antonio, Guadalupe and Colorado river basins to maintain their health and the bays they feed will be based on proposed rules published Thursday by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in the Texas Register. For the two legislatively appointed stakeholder groups that spent the past year and half working on compromises between the science-based environmental needs of the basins and the growing demand for water, the proposed rules are a disappointment, leaving less water in the rivers than they recommended, according to the chairs of the groups. The TCEQ representatives explained that they did not follow the recommendations of the stakeholders, which represented industrial, recreational, environmental and business interests, because they had balanced the needs of humans and nature. Read full SA Express-News article.

April 4, 2012

Central Texas Water Coalition updates and April 26th meeting announcement

CTWC March Headlines: “No Lake Water for the Rice Fields”; “House Natural Resources Committee Explores Drought Options”; “46th TX Legislative Conference Looks at Drought and the TX Economy” “CTWC Sponsors Bass Fishing Tournament on the Highland Lakes April 21‐22”; and “Sen. Fraser to address the CTWC April 26 Meeting”. Read the full news blast here. More about the CTWC here.

March 30, 2012

International Water Expert to Highlight Sierra Club Water Conference, April 27

Brian Richter, an international authority on river conservation and the director of The Nature Conservancy’s Global Freshwater Program, will be the keynote speaker for a statewide water conference being held by the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club in Austin on Friday, April 27. Read More

March 5, 2012

Taking a Deeper Look at the Texas Supreme Court’s Ruling on Water

Exactly how (the decision) will change the game is what everyone is trying to figure out. The case clearly established two things. First, that landowners legally own the groundwater underneath their land, and second, that landowners may be owed compensation if state or local regulations go too far in limiting the amount of groundwater landowners can pull. Beyond that things start to get a little murky. Read more from NPR.

March 3, 2012

Water cutoff to rice farmers typifies contentious issues confronting Texas

The Lower Colorado River Authority’s decision to deprive downstream rice farmers of water – for the first time ever – was an especially dramatic example of the historic Texas drought’s continuing impact, even as unexpected winter rains have mitigated its severity somewhat. Read more from Texas Climate News.

February 17, 2012

Vulnerable to climate disruption, Lubbock seeks a sustainable water supply

For decades, the city drew most of its water from Lake Meredith...But Lake Meredith has fallen to historically low levels. “This year, for the first time in 40 years, it’s gone.” Read more from Texas Climate News.

February 16, 2012

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs Stresses Importance of Water Management for State’s Prosperity

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs released today The Impact of the 2011 Drought and Beyond – an analysis of the effects of the severe 2011 drought in Texas, current and future water resources in the state and innovative solutions being used in Texas and elsewhere in the Southwest to solve the water crisis. “Planning and managing water use will be of utmost importance for the state’s growth and prosperity,” Combs said. “While recent rains have helped put a dent in drought severity in different parts of the state, we’re not out of the woods. Texas is prone to cycles of drought which makes it important for residents, businesses and state and local governments to manage water use. Every Texan has a stake in water issues the state faces.” Read the Impact of the 2011 Drought and Beyond online.

February 6, 2012

Do more soon to preserve our waters

It's official. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the year 2011 was the driest on record. The average total rainfall across the state was 14.88 inches, beating the previous record low of 14.99 inches established in 1917. Now, more than ever, is the time for each of us to take an active role in water conservation in order to extend our existing water supplies. Without waiting for plans and finances or rains to catch up, there are ways to increase your water supply today. Read full Statesman.com commentary by HCA's Milan Michalec.

February 4, 2012

Protecting water in Texas: a promise kept or broken?

Fifty years ago, Texas experienced the drought of record — which simply means the worst drought we had ever seen. Following that drought, big thinkers made big decisions. They invested in infrastructure to expand existing surface water supplies, cultivate unexplored groundwater supplies, and store and conserve more water. The investments of the 1950s have gotten us this far, but won't carry us much further. Read more from Statesman.com.

February 1, 2012

Travis County passed new rules to protect water resources

After months of vetting by a diverse volunteer stakeholder committee made up of scientists, developer interests, landowners, residents and groundwater planning professionals Travis County Commissioners unanimously passed recommended new subdivision rules dealing with water use. “Already built or planned subdivisions and those with five or fewer lots that use surface water or have a rainwater collection system to back up groundwater would be exempt from the rules.” Read a brief from the Austin American Statesman that includes a link to the feature article from earlier this week here. Read Travis County staff summary to the Court here.

January 28, 2012

Rethinking water: Growing population, limited supply mean costs destined to rise, experts say

Is water too cheap? Perhaps the most obvious indication that it is, said Michael Webber, a University of Texas professor who heads a research group focused on water and energy, is how freely we use it. A growing population requires more water, which the state says can't come from one source. Addressing the state's water needs requires a range of solutions, most of which are expensive. Read more from Statesman.com.

January 24, 2012

LCRA wants public comment on proposed Water Management Plan

LCRA is taking public comment on the proposed revision to the Water Management Plan for lakes Travis and Buchanan. The plan is posted at LCRA.org. Comments can be submitted by email to wmp@lcra.org. The LCRA Board will consider the plan at its February 22 meeting. Comments are due February 9. Learn More

January 11, 2012

Develop water strategy to slake Texans' thirst

The state's population is expected to nearly double by 2060, from 25.4 million people to 46.3 million, according to the state water plan. New management strategies and supply projects are needed to meet the state's residential, business and agricultural water needs. Failure to act could result in devastating business losses, lost jobs and reduced incomes, the state plan says; public health and economic development will suffer. More from Statesman.com.

January 10, 2012

Could water, power woes threaten state's economy?

Dwindling supplies of water and electricity are imperiling the state's economic future, a Texas Senate committee was told Tuesday. Read more from Statesman.com.

January 3, 2012

The 2012 State Water Plan was sent to the Governor on January 5, 2012

“The primary message of the 2012 State Water Plan is a simple one: In serious drought conditions, Texas does not and will not have enough water to meet the needs of its people, its businesses, and its agricultural enterprises.” Learn more from TWDB. Read what Tom Mason, former LCRA General Manager has to say about the plan here.

December 29, 2011

The Texas Water Crisis

Texas water authorities at every level are on alert. Last summer’s extremely hot, dry weather was a wake-up call. Now more than a dozen Texas towns are in danger of running out of water. Texas is in a water crisis. To make it official, the Texas Water Development Board December report says the state reservoirs are extremely low even after some autumn rain. Read more from CleanHouston.org.

December 21, 2011

Water planners urged to base needs on centuries, not decades, of drought data

Over the past 500 years, Central Texas has seen droughts far worse than the 1950s drought of record, according to a report commissioned by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority and published Wednesday in the December issue of the Texas Water Journal. Researchers warn that makers of water policy should broaden their planning to factor in the possibility of droughts far worse than the spell that set the bar more than a half-century ago. Read more from Statesman.com.

December 20, 2011

Growth of large private water companies brings higher water rates, little recourse for consumers

Across the state, a growing number of suburban Texans are getting their water from large, private corporations owned by investors seeking to profit off the sale of an essential resource. State figures show private companies are seeking more price increases every year, and many are substantial. Read full Statesman.com article.

December 5, 2011

Hill Country Landowners take action to protect springs and property rights

So, what happens when local residents and landowners don’t agree with the groundwater management plan handed down by a regional governing body that affects the future of a precious, local groundwater resource? The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has a process for such situations, and it’s now playing out with precision in the Wimberley Valley of Hays County. Read More

November 3, 2011

Future of Central & South Central Texas Fish & Wildlife Now in TCEQ’s Hands

Environmental groups say that upcoming decisions by state water officials will determine the future of Central and South Central Texas rivers and bays as well as oysters, shrimp, whooping cranes, and other fish and wildlife – and economic industries dependent upon those resources. Read More

September 28, 2011

DAVE MCNEELY: It's time to stop taking water for granted

The water shortage in Texas can certainly use some prayers, and maybe even some rain dances. But it's going to take more than that — much more. That was the conclusion Saturday of panelists at a session called "The Coming Crisis Over Water." Read more from Go San Angelo.

State Water Plan comment period open through October 25th

The Texas Water Development Board has posted the 2012 State Water Plan in draft form for public review and comment. This is your opportunity to provide input to the State of Texas about the future of our water resources. An email option makes it easy to send comments. Several public meetings will be held to gather input including October 3rd in San Antonio followed by a formal public hearing in Austin on October 17th. Learn more from TWDB.

September 7, 2011

BSEACD News: Stage III Critical Drought Imminent

The Barton Spring Edwards Aquifer Conservation District issued an update this week about drought conditions, conservation and restrictions to expect. “The District asks all of its groundwater-using residents to continue their water conservation measures and be even better stewards of an increasingly scarce resource. A list of water conservation measures and more detailed information on aquifer conditions are available on District’s website at http://www.bseacd.org.” Read the Aquifer Bulletin here.

July 22, 2011

Drought intensifies across lower Colorado River basin

A prolonged stretch of exceptionally dry weather is causing the drought across Texas and the lower Colorado River basin to intensify."This has been the driest nine months in Texas history - the absolute driest,” LCRA General Manager Becky Motal said. “This is a serious situation, but it’s not dire. Water flowing into the Highland Lakes is down to a trickle in places. Rest assured LCRA is managing the region’s water supply to make it through this exceptional drought, and we are asking everyone to use water as efficiently as possible and reduce water use wherever they can.” Read full from Statesman.com article here.

July 22, 2011

Silt decreasing our water supplies

Did you know the 2007 Texas State Water Plan estimates an 18% decrease in existing water supplies by 2060? Silt build-up in reservoirs is one two reasons given for the decline. The other is depleted groundwater supplies. Look to Denver, Colorado to see what it can cost to remove sediment from a lake. Denver Water is dredging the Strontia Springs Reservoir to remove at least 625,000 cubic yards of sediment. The cost is just over $30 million. Watch video

July 7, 2011

Uvalde pipeline is still a bad idea

The investors and promoters behind what is known as the “Uvalde Pipeline” have tried for two legislative sessions to change the law governing the Edwards Aquifer Authority that prohibits the transport of Edwards Aquifer water out of Uvalde and Medina counties. Read full SA Express article here.

July 5, 2011

Watershed planning short course Nov. 14–18 in Bandera

The Texas Water Resources Institute will be presenting a Texas Watershed Planning Short Course Nov. 14–18 in Bandera. “Well-considered holistic watershed protection plans involving as many stakeholders as possible in their development are becoming the widely accepted approach to protecting Texas surface waters,” said Kevin Wagner, an associate director at the institute and course leader. Read more here.

June 21, 2011

Highland Lakes Face Drought – A five part series by Kate Galbraith

This week The Texas Tribune is featuring the five part series about the LCRA,Water Fight, about the devastating drought’s affect on the diverse interests in the Highland Lakes. “Three major power plants are using about 45 percent more water now versus two years ago.”

June 19, 2011

Dwindling Lakes, Growing Water Demand in Central Texas

On the cliffs surrounding Central Texas’ large Lake Buchanan, a white ring extends some 13 feet above the shoreline, marking where the water reaches when the lake is full. At nearby Lake Travis, staircases that once led to the water’s edge now end well above it. These two lakes serve as key water sources for dozens of cities and hundreds of farmers, as well as for several power plants. Read more from Texas Tribune here.

June 16, 2011

Drought could dry Llano River by week's end, officials say

As of Wednesday, the Llano River, which normally courses through town at 158 cubic feet per second this time of year, was flowing at 3.8 cubic feet per second — the slowest since 1953, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The river is the city's sole source of drinking water. Read full Statesman.com article here.

June 14, 2011

Power plant in Matagorda Co. gains in water fight

The Lower Colorado River Authority says there is enough water, even in dry times, for a proposed coal-fired power plant in Matagorda County — a finding that all but removes one of the last hurdles for the controversial project. Read full Houston Chronicle article here.

June 13, 2011

South Llano Watershed Alliance to celebrate top ten ranking for the Llano River

The Llano River was recently named one of the “Top Ten Waters to Watch” for 2011. This ranking will be discussed and celebrated at June 25th meeting of the South Llano Watershed Alliance. Read more

LCRA to consider water deal for power plant

In one of its first major water contracts since a record drought left the basin stricken in 2009, the board of the Lower Colorado River Authority could decide on Wednesday to sell at least 8.3 billion gallons of water a year to a proposed coal-fired power plant near the Gulf coast. Read full Statesman.com article here.

June 8, 2011

Desired Future Conditions Threaten the Colorado River

The adopted Desired Future Conditions for our aquifers will cause the Colorado River to lose its base-flow by 2060. Environmental Stewardship illustrates this point and introduces “Project Game-Changer” Learn more

Head of Major Texas Electric and Water Supplier Resigns

The general manager of the Lower Colorado River Authority announced his resignation Tuesday, setting off a potential battle over the future of the enormous Central Texas wholesale electricity and water supplier. Read full Texas Tribune article here.

April 25, 2011

New permit could lead to additional water supply in the future

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on April 20 granted LCRA a permit to capture water from the Colorado River downstream of Austin during high flows and store it in yet-to-be-built reservoirs in the lower basin. Read more from LCRA here. Read more from the Austin American Statesman here.

April 20, 2011

Flow into Colorado lower than drought-of-record period, LCRA says

In the latest sign of how dry the recent drought has been, Lower Colorado River Authority officials announced Wednesday that the flow of water from streams and creeks into the Colorado River over the past six months is worse than any similar period during the worst-ever drought. Read more from Statesman.com here.

March 31, 2011

Two reports give conflicting views of future water supply

A report released last month by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority regarding water planning in Kendall County and Fair Oaks Ranch is based on estimates of available groundwater that are substantially different - 67 percent less - than estimates released by the Texas Water Development Board on Feb. 7. Read full Boerne Star article here.

March 2, 2011

Capitol awash with water issues

Senate committee takes up measure that would equate groundwater with private property. Read full Statesman.com article here.

February 22, 2011

Growth and How it Affects Our Water

“There is little or no understanding of a term that is familiar to ranchers called 'carrying capacity'. On a ranch or a pasture, it means the numbers of animals, including livestock and wildlife, which can be maintained without damaging the desired rangeland vegetation...I think towns, cities, counties and regions also have a sustainable carrying capacity for people.” Read this insightful article by Mike Mecke here.

February 17, 2011

Our Water is Our Future – Citizen unite in opposition the Uvalde water pipeline

The Keep Our Water Association has launched campaign in response to an ongoing movement by private investors to pass legislation that will allow the transport Edwards water away from the rural western region. The mission: To protect and preserve the wellbeing of the western portion of the Edwards Aquifer and those citizens and businesses that are affected by it. Learn more here.

February 15, 2011

LCRA's sale of small water systems brings backlash from communities

What began in the 1990s as an effort by the Lower Colorado River Authority to bail out failing, far-flung sewage and water systems, eventually became a utility and infrastructure spree as the LCRA extended its clout, transforming the development of the Hill Country in the process. But in November, the LCRA announced that it would sell 32 systems it still controlled because they collectively cost about $3 million more to operate than they raise in rates. Read full Statesman.com article here.

The Changing Face of Water Rights

The State Bar of Texas’ water rights conference is coming up February 24 – 25th at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa. Anyone interested in becoming better educated about water law, groundwater management, state water planning, environmental flows is welcome to register. Program details and registration here.

February 4, 2011

Local Environmental Groups Laud Resolution Adopted by SAWS

At their meeting Tuesday, SAWS voted unanimously to adopt a resolution that ended a five year long legal dispute between SAWS and the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, the Helotes Heritage Association, the City of Grey Forest, the San Geronimo Valley Alliance, and the Hill Country Planning Association. Learn more

January 25, 2010

Gov. Perry Names Timmerman Chair of Lower Colorado River Authority Board of Directors

Read more here.

November 17, 2010

Will Water Rights Be on the Legislature's Agenda?

Next legislative session, during the few minutes not taken up with the budget, redistricting and immigration, an old stand-by of an issue could creep onto the agenda: water. Observers say legislative proposals on groundwater rights are probable, given that Texas is just wrapping up a controversial process for planning the allocation of water from aquifers, while environmentalists will be pushing more measures for water conservation. Read more from the Texas Tribune here.

October 24, 2010

Lake Mead sinks to a new historic low

Pay attention to this reminder of how drought and growing water demands have sapped the Colorado River (the other Colorado River) and its huge reservoirs. Click here

13 seek to bring water to city

By Friday's deadline, 13 potential sellers responded to San Antonio Water System's request to help diversify its water sources. With the new approach, water sellers would compete to do the work — obtain pumping permits and pipeline easements, financing construction and, in some cases, work to change state law to allow for a pipeline to be built. Read full San Antonio Express article here.

October 21, 2010

LCRA to look for new water sources

Long reliant on one source of water for much of Central Texas, the Lower Colorado River Authority will study alternate sources to meet future demands of the growing region, according to a plan the authority’s board approved Wednesday. Read more from Statesman.com here.

October 12, 2010

State’s budgetary woes may derail water reform

While the establishment of water districts to cover the entire state may be boiling over with some municipalities, a $21 billion shortfall in the state’s budgeting is likely to curtail any serious reform measures. Read full Lake Travis View article here.

October 10, 2010

Environmental Stewardship calls for citizen action – to keep groundwater for local use

The water marketers have taken steps to get Bastrop and Lee county groundwater against our wishes.” The Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) and the South Central Texas Regional Water Planning Group (Region L) move towards a $400 million pipeline from Bastrop, Lee and Burleson counties to San Marcos and San Antonio. Learn more here.

September 30, 2010

Massive deal proposed to move water from counties east of Austin to San Antonio

Hoping to broker a massive deal that would send water from beneath counties east of Austin in a $400 million pipeline to San Antonio, the general manager of a Central Texas river authority has asked the region's chief private water developers to convene in Seguin on Friday. Read full Statesman.com article here.

September 20, 2010

Watershed health important for all Texans

A Texas Watershed Steward training program will be held from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Utopia Senior Center on Main Street in Uptopia. The program is sponsored by Texas AgriLife Extension Service and the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board in coordination with the Nueces River Authority. Details

August 31, 2010

Texas Completes Key Groundwater Planning Step

An intensive process to plan out the maximum depletion of aquifers over the next half-century has been completed just ahead of the Sept. 1 deadline. Read full Texas Tribune article here.

August 24, 2010

Riparian Landowner’s Workshops scheduled for October

Riparian areas are important components of the landscape and water cycle. Please read Steve Nelle’s (NRCS) “Riparian Notes”, learn about taking care of your water resources. More information and details about upcoming workshops here.

TCEQ Considers lower water quality standards. SARA says “clean enough to swim in”.

The board of the San Antonio River Authority has come out against the state lowering water quality standards for any of the creeks and rivers it oversees. Other Hill Country river basins are looking at this issue carefully. Sign a petition supporting high standards and learn more here.

August 18, 2010

TWCA Fall Meeting Scheduled for October 13-15

State Representative Doug Miller and TWDB Board Member Thomas Weir Labatt III will headline the fall meeting of the Texas Water Conservation Association (TWCA), scheduled for October 13-15, 2010, at the Crowne Plaza Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio. The program will also include numerous presentations on surface and groundwater management. Registration information and a full agenda should be available on the TWCA website by mid-August.

July 30, 2010

The Future of Water: GMA 9's 30-foot drawdown decision could crimp future growth

After nearly four years of hydrology modeling and politicking, representatives from groundwater districts in Kendall and eight other Hill Country counties decided Monday to limit the drawdown of aquifer levels to no more than 30 feet over the next 50 years. Read full Boerne Star article here.

July 19, 2010

Domestic use of Highland Lakes water

Ray, who has a weekend place on Lake Buchanan, waters his lawn by pumping water from the lake.” LCRA is asking property owners to pay up. Read more from Water Matters.

July 16, 2010

Uvalde says no to Californian's water pipeline

Rodney Smith's pitch to the Uvalde City Council this week was all about water, but the reception seemed more like the kind you'd see extended to a carnival hustler trying to engage the local citizenry in a game of Three-Card Monte. Read full San Antonio Express article here.

July 15, 2010

Uvalde Water Project Pipeline Concerns

There was standing room only at the Uvalde City Council meeting as citizens crowded into council chambers to hear about the Uvalde Water Project pipeline. Southwest Texas Water Resources wants to construct a 67-mile pipeline from Uvalde County to San Antonio to transport Edwards Aquifer water. City Council says “no”. Read more here.

July 13, 2010

July Issue of TP&W Magazine Explores Why Water Matters in Texas

Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine’s ninth annual water issue is on the news stand now and is a useful resource to engage readers with current water issues that affect their lives. The full text of the issue is also available on the magazine’s website.

July 8, 2010

Fredericksburg's treated sewage effluent available to golf resort

Treated sewage effluent that the City of Fredericksburg contracted in 2006 to sell to Boot Ranch is finally available to the troubled golf resort. Read full San Antonio Express article here. Read more from Fredericksburg Standard here.

June 24, 2010

Playing By The Rule

"Groundwater is covered by an archaic law that could leave use high and dry." Read the full article by Nick Patoski, Texas Observer here.

June 6, 2010

Aquatic Life Declines at Early Stages of Urban Development

The Center for Watershed Protection has been collaborating with the US Geological Survey's Effects of Urbanization on Stream Ecosystems research group to help interpret and disseminate the study results to local watershed managers and planners so they can base land use and management decisions on the best available science. Read more.

May 26, 2010

Cypress Flows, News from The River Systems Institute

What is the economic loss to Wimberley if water flow or quality declines in Cypress Creek? What is a CCN? Rainwater harvesting and water conservation tips…this newsletter is a must read for everyone in Hays County and those in the Hill Country Region who would like to learn about the importance of watershed based planning. Click here for more.

Submit comments now to shape your region’s water policies

EDF hosts “Texas Water Solutions” an informative blog for citizen participation in state water planning processes. A torrent of draft regional water plans have flooded the state this spring, as a part of the state’s regional water planning process. Public hearings and public comment periods on these draft plans present critical opportunities for Texans to let planners know their opinions about how best to meet the future water needs of people and the environment in your area. Visit the blog for more information.

May 22, 2010

Water suppliers may need to consider the health of mussels

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may decide by the end of the year whether 11 species of mussels are endangered. If the answer is yes, the state's river authorities might have to recalculate how much water they can distribute to industry, farmers and growing cities and still leave enough in Texas' already stressed rivers to keep mussels healthy. Read full Statesman.com article here.

May 3, 2010

Protecting a precious resource: Good to the last drop?

Last year State Comptroller Susan Combs urged lawmakers to take action to avoid a major water shortage in the wake of two decades of explosive population growth. Read full Amarillo Globe News article here.

April 20. 2010

Pickens wants court to derail state water plan

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens wants a court to derail state approval of a water management plan that he claims would take $10 million off the value of his groundwater rights in the Texas Panhandle. Read full Statesman.com article here.

March 14, 2010

State seeks to ease water quality rules

In a move that it says will save money and is a practical strategy for monitoring the state's waterways, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has proposed loosening its water quality standards. Read full Statesman.com article here.

March 11, 2010

Texas Water Matters

Texas Water Matters is an outstanding resource on all things related to water planning in Texas. The site is full of current information on all water planning processes. Recently the project added new features to their website illustrating the “interconnectivity” of surface and ground water supplies. Check out the Living Waters Project and specifically the latest material on interconnectivity here.

March 10, 2010

Water Conservation in Texas: Good, Bad And Ugly

Perhaps the timing isn’t best (the drought has lifted and attention has drifted elsewhere) but the National Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club released a report this week on water conservation efforts in nineteen Texas cities. As the two groups note, the “quality and extent of water conservation programs in Texas’ cities vary considerably.” Read full Texas Observer article here.

March 8, 2010

Drop by Drop: Seven Ways Texas Cities Can Conserve Water

The National Wildlife Federation and the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club released a joint report today recommending seven common-sense water conservation measures. The report reviews 19 cities around the state to see where these measures are in place and concludes that, with some exceptions, most of the cities surveyed are not doing enough to make the most efficient use of existing water supplies. Read more...

February 10, 2010

Edward Aquifer moves towards impervious cover limits in the Hill Country

The board of the Edwards Aquifer Authority on Tuesday moved toward limiting development over the entire recharge zone of the aquifer from Hays to Uvalde counties. Controlling the amount of impervious cover, or the square footage of parking lots and roofs, on top of the recharge zone is a step the authority has contemplated since 2003 to protect water quality. Read full SA Express article here.

January 26, 2010

LCRA wants input for long range water supply planning

Now is the time to let LCRA know your ideas for managing the water in the Highland Lakes. Meetings will be held in Austin, Burnet and El Campo, you can also provide input in writing or take an online survey. Learn more...

November 19, 2009

State environmental agency rejects request to repeal discharge ban

The state environmental office Wednesday denied a request to repeal a ban on the discharge of treated wastewater into the Highland Lakes, which serve as the prime recreation and water supply reservoirs in Central Texas. The decision, made at a meeting of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, ends a public policy discussion that boiled down to water quality versus water quantity. Read full Statesman.com article here.

October 21, 2009

13 Million pounds of toxics discharged into Texas rivers and streams

Industrial facilities dumped 13 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Texas’ waterways in 2007, according to a report released today by Environment Texas: Wasting Our Waterways: Industrial Toxic Pollution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act. The report also finds that toxic chemicals were discharged in 1,900 waterways across all 50 states. The information detailed in this report was compiled from the Environmental Protection Agency’s database on toxic release inventories. Read full media release here.

August 23, 2009

Our Water Supply, Down the Drain

In the United States, we constantly fret about running out of oil. But we should be paying more attention to another limited natural resource: water. A water crisis is threatening many parts of the country -- not just the arid West. Read full article here.

August 4, 2009

Cypress Creek Project

The spring-fed Cypress Creek and surrounding Hill Country landscape is a unique and cherished natural system located in and around Wimberley, Texas. Learn about what’s being done to protect this resource, check out the latest Cypress Creek Project newsletter here.

June 8, 2009

The Back Porch - Water and wildlife in the marketplace

Texas contains nearly 200,000 miles of streams and rivers. Thirteen of the state’s 15 rivers flow through metropolitan areas supply-ing water for more than 22 million people. Twenty percent of those people depend on a single river: the Trinity. To supply water for people while balancing the needs for wildlife, positive things must happen on the landscape — 95 percent of which is in private hands. - Read full TPWD article here.

May 20, 2009

TPWD Hears about proposed permit to remove sand/gravel from Llano River

On May 12th, about three-dozen Llano County neighbors and their attorneys and consultants made the trip to Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters to discuss a proposed permit to remove sand and gravel from the Llano River. Joining them in Austin were several interested persons who offered insight into how a decision on this permit could shape state policy towards the management of rivers. Read full Llano News article here.

May 15, 2009

Silent Springs - is it too late to save Hill Country water?

Sixty feet below the shimmering surface of Jacob’s Well, an artesian spring that for thousands of years has pulsed iridescent blue-green water from the Trinity Aquifer to the surface, a sophisticated instrument measures the spring’s vital signs. The results are beamed almost instantaneously to the Internet. These days the gauge detects only the thinnest of pulses. Read the full Texas Observer article here.

March 1, 2009

Hydrologist concerned about effect of drought on Llano's water supply

"In a called meeting following Monday’s Presidents’ Day holiday, the Llano City Council on Tuesday heard a report from local hydrologist Tyson Broad on how the current drought will continue to adversely affect the city’s water supply unless we receive more rain," writes Dale Fry for the Bandera Bulletin. "Citing current stream flow figures, Broad expressed concern for the future of Llano’s water supply and recommended that the city begin now to determine at what point it should take steps to conserve its supply of the precious liquid." Read the full Bulletin story here.

February 18, 2009

A Wrap-Up of Drought Conditions in Texas

"The River Systems Institute has prepared an overview of drought conditions in Central Texas from several sources. In summary, it appears difficult to compare the current situation to the 50s because of the duration of the 50s drought, and Central Texas did have rain in 2007. But although on a shorter time frame, this drought has been more severe than even portions of the 50s drought, especially in the Central Texas." Read the full summary from the River Systems Institute at TSU here.

January 26, 2009

San Antonio Water System's hopes evaporating

"The Colorado River may be drying up as a potential source of drinking water for San Antonio," writes Jerry Needham for the San Antonio Express-News. "The San Antonio Water System is spending millions of dollars looking into bringing Colorado River water to the Alamo City, but scientific studies, and now maybe policy decisions by the board that oversees the river, continue to shrink the amount of water available and cause the estimated costs to skyrocket." Read the full Express-News story here.

November 6, 2008

NRC: Watershed boundaries are the way to manage runoff

"Although urban areas take just three percent of U.S. land, their loss of water-retaining soil and vegetation -- and their polluted runoff from impervious surfaces, lawns, vehicles, industries, and construction sites -- have harmed all urban streams, and, on a larger scale, caused most impairment of 13 percent of rivers, 18 percent of lakes, and 32 percent of estuaries, concludes the National Research Council's Committee on Reducing Stormwater Discharge Contribution to Water Pollution," Smart Growth News reports. Read the full story here.

November 5, 2008

Second symposium on Texas Water issues Nov. 13 in San Antonio

HCA is partnering with Schreiner University, Texas Tech University and Texas Public Radio to present a series of four free lectures and forums designed to engage Central Texans in the water and growth issues of our area. Read about the Texas Water Symposia here, and read the full press release for the event here.

November 2, 2008

Preserving the S. Llano River: Join the Project Nov. 15

"Environmental Defense Fund's South Llano River Project was initiated in early 2008 to begin discussions with local and regional stakeholders on the interest and feasibility of developing a plan of action to ensure the long-term protection of this rich and unique resource," writes Texas Water Matters. "Work will initially focus on the South Llano River, however there is potential for eventually widening the project area to include the greater Llano River watershed." Join the project on November 15 in Junction and read the details and pre-register to attend here.

Jacob's Well stops flowing

"Jacob's Well, the famous natural spring known to be the longest underwater cave in Texas, stopped flowing for the second time in recorded history on the evening of October 20th," reports the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association in a press release. "Jacob's Well has been hovering at between one and two cubic feet per second for the past several months. Jacob's Well is the barometer for the health of the aquifer; the well ceasing to flow at this time is a major environmental event, as it stopped for the first time in recorded history in the summer of 2000." Read more after the jump.

TCEQ has a new Water Quality division

"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality recently formed a new Water Quality Planning Division dedicated to improving water quality with Kelly Keel as director," reports the Texas Water Resources Institute. "The division has three sections: Planning and Implementation, Monitoring and Assessment and the Houston Laboratory." Read the full story here.

News from Preserve Our Water

In the latest edition of Preserve Our Water's newsletter, the organization discusses: Current Blanco County drought conditions, Blanco-Pedernales Groundwater Conservation District's drought stage, Jacob’s Well running dry, Central Texas' drought, an update to the GMA 9 Desired Future Conditions, and our own Hill Country Alliance 2009 Calendars. Read more after the jump.

October 22, 2008

Protecting Cibolo Creek saves more than money

"The tendency of humans to build, live and play in and near attractive riparian areas has resulted in stream banks having been stripped of vegetation, paved, compacted and littered with all kinds of trash," writes Jan Wrede, Director of Education at Cibolo Nature Center. "These highly impaired riparian zones now cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to restore...Protecting the Cibolo Creek from degradation and preserving its natural good health is part of our generation's mandate to provide for sustainable living in this wonderful town." Read more after the jump.

October 6, 2008

Lawmakers looking into Texas water laws

The Texas Legislature is gearing up for another session and these lawmakers are working on changes to Texas Water Laws. New topics include "dam safety, new electric generation sources and technologies, mercury and arsenic emissions, water and energy needs and challenges, water salinity technology, monitoring implementation of HB 1763 as it relates to Groundwater Management Areas, related groundwater issues in areas without a groundwater conservation district, evaluation of increasing caps on export fees, and review of the powers of state river authorities," according to an article in Livestock Weekly. Read their full story after the jump.

Canyon Lake nearing record low

"Drought and an agreement to release water to help keep downstream trout alive have left Canyon Lake just inches above the lowest level ever reached after the reservoir was first filled in 1968," writes Roger Croteau for the San Antonio Express-News. "Canyon Lake's normal level is 909 feet above mean sea level, and its historic low was 899.7 feet in December 1984. On Monday the lake, which has been dropping about an inch a day, stood at 900.11 feet."' Read the full Express-News story here.

Back to Water Planning

Back to Issues

The Latest News

Certified Interpretive Guide Training Workshop Just added for August at Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center

Do you want to create meaningful experiences that last a lifetime? HCA is offering an Interpretive Guide Training workshop that will help you connect the minds and hearts of your audience to the beauty of nature and the mysteries of history. Register now, class size limited. Details

To protect aquifer, limit SAWS service

“Now that San Antonio Water Systems is considering acquisition of new water supplies from the Vista Ridge project, the prospect that these supplies will be used to expand development over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone looms large. By approving these utility service agreements, SAWS opens up new areas of highly sensitive aquifer lands to high density development.” Read an open letter to SAWS by Annalisa Peace as published in the San Antonio Express News.

Conservation Groups Encourage Input on State Water Funding Rules

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has proposed agency rules to govern the use of a new state water project fund approved by voters last November with the passage of Proposition 6. State conservation groups are encouraging Texans to take the opportunity to review and comment on the proposed rules. Hearings on the rules begin next Thursday, July 24 in San Antonio, with additional public hearings set for August 13 in San Angelo and August 21 in Fort Worth. In addition TWDB is taking comments via email and postal mail or through a portal on the agency’s website. Read more

Cibolo Conservancy sets Aug. 6 workshop to help families protect land, get tax incentives

A workshop exploring how families can legally protect and preserve the legacy of their land – and be eligible for tax relief at the same time – will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, at the Cibolo Nature Center & Farm auditorium. Details

Texas Tribune Q&A with Karen Ford

“There are two schools of thought. One is we are not going to build our way out of this, and I’ve heard other people say we’re not going to conserve our way out of this. I have to take issue. I think we really are going to have to adopt as a citizenry a new water ethic in the way we think about and use water. And the way we look at our landscapes. And the way we value our large landscapes and understanding the role that they play in our water supply.” Read More

HCA's Certified Interpretive Guide Training Workshop Returns October 14-17 in San Antonio

Do you want to create meaningful experiences that last a lifetime? HCA is offering an Interpretive Guide Training workshop that will help you connect the minds and hearts of your audience to the beauty of nature and the mysteries of history. Register now, class size limited. Details

AgriLife Extension sets Living Waters Conference for August 19 in Junction

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will conduct the Living Waters Conference beginning at 8 a.m. Aug. 19 at the Texas Tech Junction Center, 254 Red Raider Lane in Junction. “This is a well-rounded program that centers on topics relating to watersheds, riparian areas and best management practices for managing cattle, horses and feral hogs along these fragile environmental areas.” Details

Plans for Texas 45 Southwest bring quest to document historical sites

“Environmentalists eye the proposed road’s path over the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer. Fans of the tollway note how it would provide an alternative to congested roadways. History enthusiasts, though, see what’s not on the map. They see land that the Spanish first traveled in the late 1600s, that stagecoaches traversed beginning in the mid-1800s, and they worry that the proposed tollway — and the additional development it would likely bring — would erase that rich past. That little-heard concern about growth has prompted the Travis County Historical Commission to begin a survey of properties in Southwest Travis County.” Read more from Andra Lim at Statesman.com here.

How to Inspire Millions More Americans to Ride Bicycles

“Over the past five years we’re seeing an infrastructure revolution, a rethinking of our streets to accommodate more users — busways, public plazas, space for pedestrians and, of course, bike lanes,” said David Vega-Barachowitz of the National Association of City Transportation Officials. “More protected bike lanes is one of the most important parts of this.” Read the full story from the Rivard Report here.

Proposed Truck Stop along the Llano River draws concerns

Hill Country conservationists including HCA have expressed concerns over a proposed Pilot Flying J truck stop to be constructed close to the North Llano River in Junction. “The South Llano Watershed Alliance (SLWA) is a non-profit organization of landowners and interested stakeholders whose mission is to preserve and enhance the South Llano River and adjoining watersheds by encouraging land and water stewardship through collaboration, education, and community participation. Since our inception in 2009, SLWA has partnered with other local, state, and federal agencies and organizations to develop and participate in programs that to date have brought in nearly $3 million in research and restoration efforts in the local community.” Read the SLWA letter of concern urging for more time for due diligence.

LCRA and PEC Award $25,000 to Old Blanco County Courthouse for Masonry Repair

The Old Blanco County Courthouse Preservation Society will be able to repair masonry and stone on the building’s exterior, thanks to a $25,000 community development grant. The Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative provided the grant to repair and replace mortar and stone in critical areas of the old courthouse on Blanco’s downtown square. Details

Water Planners Focus on Bigger Texas, Not a Hotter One

After Texans overwhelmingly approved spending $2 billion in public funds on new water infrastructure projects last November, Republicans and Democrats alike hailed the state’s ability to solve its water woes in the wake of explosive growth and debilitating drought. But as state water planners prepare to spend that money and address Texas’ water needs in the coming decades, they are only planning for a bigger Texas — not a hotter one. More from the Texas Tribune.

Travis County attempts to guide surging growth in unincorporated areas

"One difficulty is that the county has little say in what ultimately gets built on unincorporated land." This issue is felt in Bexar, Kendall, Comal, Hays, Burnet, Bandera and all of the rapidly expanding counties throughout the Hill Country. Read the full story in the Austin American Statesman. Learn more about the County Authority issue here.

HCC Ruby Ranch – A Conservation Success

The Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) announces a new conservation easement. 747-acre Ruby Ranch, a historical property in Hays County, is the final piece of the puzzle that will result in over 10,000 acres of contiguous open space. As rapid development continues in the region, it has become harder and harder for families to keep lands together and intact. Like many ranching families, the Ruby’s felt the burden of these pressures. This property has been in the Ruby family since the 1930s. Read more from HCC.

Taller billboards could be coming to Texas

Billboards designed to get people’s attention could be getting taller. In a proposal the Texas Department of Transportation has rolled out, drivers on interstates, major roadways and rural areas could see signs as high as 65 feet tall. “It may seem like a small thing coming from a city, but it’s really a big deal and can really negatively impact your experience of Texas Hill Country,” said Katherine Romans with the Hill Country Alliance. Comments can be submitted through July 14th. Read the full story from KXAN. Learn more about Billboards in the Hill Country from HCA here.

GEAA making a difference in and around San Antonio

The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance (GEAA) has consistently opposed utility service contracts for new developments in the Edwards Aquifer watershed. Of particular concern are contracts for sewer service, which allow for much higher density development and have the potential to pollute the Aquifer with high volume sewage leaks. Find out how you can get involved and influence the upcoming SAWS board agenda, July 17th. Learn more from GEAA.

Who Stole the Water?

As the water crisis in Texas continues to escalate, it is becoming a topic of national interest. This article illustrates that the prospect of dried up springs, streams, and lakes in our Hill Country and the bays of Texas is provoking anger far and wide. One thing to note, “waste” is NOT permitted under the rule of capture, although the article alludes that it is. The author Paul Solotaroff, holds back nothing; ecology, water rights, politics, greed, all part of the story. Read more from Men’s Journal.

Rainwater harvesting communities find fertile ground in Hill Country

While traditional developers scramble for scarce water resources, sustainable development in the Hill Country is happening right under our noses. Several water-neutral projects incorporating rainwater harvesting systems are in progress and more are in the planning stages. With proper consideration and non-invasive infrastructure, the Hill Country gets enough rain even - in the worst drought year - to supply a home’s water needs. Local builder and The Hill Country Alliance’s own Paul Sumrall is featured in the following Austin American Statesman news story written by Andra Lin. Click here to read.

Here’s 5 Challenges to Texas Water That Might Surprise You

"Beyond those two big-ticket items — how to pay for water supplies and how to regulate water underground — there are some other smaller challenges the state faces when it comes to water. At a hearing by the House Natural Resources Committee Thursday, several state agencies told lawmakers about the water challenges they’re dealing with." Read more from State Impact.

Green Spaces Alliance Hires New Executive Director

Julia Murphy has been tapped as the next Executive Director of Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas. As the creator of the San Antonio Bikes program at the City of San Antonio's Office of Sustainability, Julia has managed a number of important initiatives as the city is changing its image from a fat city to a fit city and a stronger environmental conscience. Read more

Ensuring sufficient water supplies in Texas

As the current drought sweeping Texas and the Southwest continues, state leaders work to create rules and procedures for wisely administering the $2 billion in water infrastructure loan funds approved overwhelmingly by legislators and voters in 2013. Investments made through this program are critical to the future of Texas and will come none too soon, particularly those investments related to water conservation. Read more from the Houston Chronicle.

Comprehensive rating system released for developing sustainable landscapes

The most comprehensive system for developing sustainable landscapes, the SITES v2 Rating System, has been released by the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ program for use by landscape practitioners, developers, policy-makers and others that work in land design and development. Learn More

TPWD announces wildlife management area seminars

The Kerr and Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Areas are planning on opening their doors for a series of workshops on a wide range of wildlife topics. The three-part series will be organized with a combination of lectures and outdoor field-trips. These outings are free and open to the public, though a reservation is appreciated. Workshops run August through October. More details can be found here.

The Ebb and Flow of a Sustainable Water Plan

As the drought in Texas has intensified over the last several years, the water plan has taken on new prominence. A new report from the Texas Center for Policy Studies examines whether the planning process is producing useful results, and, if not, how it can be improved. Read more from Mary Kelly.

Texas Watershed Steward Workshop, July 17 in Dripping Springs

The AgriLife Extension will be hosting a free, one-day educational workshop designed to help watershed residents improve and protect their water resources by getting involved in local watershed protection and management activities. Learn more

First Home Powered by the Sun in Mason

Mason County Habitat for Humanity completed the first Solar PV (photovoltaic) system powered home in the city of Mason. The house was constructed to the latest green building standards and to the 2102 building code energy requirements. Read more from Mason County News.

Rainwater harvesting: simple idea, big benefits

Installing a rainwater collection system costs about the same or less than drilling a well but offers multiple advantages, making it the more economical and environmentally-friendly choice in the long run. Most importantly, rainwater collection systems do not deplete underlying aquifers the way wells do, making them much more reliable sources of water. Read more from the Hondo Anvil Herald.

Don't count your El Niño before it hatches

Much has been said in recent weeks and months about the development of an El Niño system this fall that could bring a "wetter than average" season to Texas and the Hill Country, possibly ending our region's recent drought. The latest satellite images have led some to urge caution in an overly optimistic El Niño forecast. Find more details in this AgriLife article.

Texas Today: A Sea of the Wrong Grasses

This article from 2010 contains timeless insight about exotic grasses in our landscape. "With the elimination of a few native weeds, wildflowers and bunchgrasses in a pasture overcome with an exotic grass, comes elimination of a few bugs that live only on a single wildflower, a few weed seeds, and a few quail nesting sites." When you extrapolate that across Hill Country, you start seeing fewer butterflies, insects, quail, native wildflowers, grasses and other species- declines that compound year after year. A worthwhile reminder of the importance of natives. Read more

Better Lights for Better Nights Conference

The City of Dripping Springs, in partnership with the International Dark Sky Association Texas (IDA Texas), will host the Better Lights for Better Nights Conference on Friday, August 15, 2014 at the Dripping Springs Ranch Park Events Center. Details

TWDB Board to approve financial assistance at Board meeting on June 18

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) will hold a Board meeting to approve financial assistance for numerous water projects across the state. Projects to be considered for financial assistance include emergency water supply and water supply projects, wastewater treatment plant improvements, a new wastewater treatment plant and an agricultural conservation center. Learn more

Hill Country Alliance Urges Texas Water Development Board to Make Conservation Priority in Funding State Water Projects

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) soon will announce draft rules and priorities for how SWIFT funds will be spent. In advance of that announcement, the Hill Country Alliance (HCA) convened a roundtable discussion in Blanco on June 4th where HCA board, advisory team and other water and land stewardship experts discussed a range of solutions that could save money and provide water to see the state through future severe droughts. Read more

Rainwater Revival call for sponsors and exhibitors

HCA is currently accepting sponsor and exhibitor applications for the 5th annual Rainwater Revival to be held October 25th in Dripping Springs. Help HCA promote rainwater harvesting as a viable Hill Country water supply. Rainwater collection professionals and enthusiasts will gather for this “edufest” designed to teach and inspire the practice of rainwater collection. This event will be open to the public and free to attend. Learn more and get involved.

TWA On-Demand Webinar Previews on iTunes U

The Texas Wildlife Association has collaborated with the Texas Education Agency to create On-demand youth webinars. This educational tool for teachers and parents is a great resource for teaching our next generation about taking care of the natural world. Learn more]

Smart Growth Online

Around the county, communities are choosing healthy solutions for how our cities and towns respond to population growth. Smart Growth Online is a great resource for the latest trends in green infrastructure, urban agriculture, walkable and transit oriented developments and innovative development practices. The next generation is demanding a better way than traditional sprawl patterns. Find helpful articles, events and resources here.

Three Hill Country Schools Win Rainwater Revival Grants to Fund Water Conservation Projects

Impressed by the quality of proposals for its rainwater harvesting and conservation grant program, the Hill Country Alliance is awarding three – instead of the planned two – $1,000 grants to Hill Country schools to help teachers and students design and implement water-saving techniques. Read more

Severe drought calls for conservation throughout basin

There is nothing more important to our communities than a reliable water supply – our homes, our businesses, our very lives, depend on it. As we enter the seventh summer of this severe drought – and despite the recent rain in Central Texas – it is more essential than ever that everyone in the lower Colorado River basin do their part to conserve water. Read more

SARA Announces Inaugural Environmental Film Fest

The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) has announced it will host the agency’s first Environmental Film Fest to help commemorate National Rivers Month in June. Learn more

Our Texas Drought, What’s Happening?

“If we want to have a Texas similar to the one our parents enjoyed, with good clean water, reasonably priced food, healthy rivers and quality bays, we are going to have to do the right thing starting at home and then carry those ideals to our counties, towns, and to Austin in particular. WATER IS LIFE!” Read more from Mike Mecke, published in Ranch & Rural Living Magazine.

Guarding San Antonio’s Eternal Water Future

“The path to a secure water future – and thus, our economic prosperity – was largely written when this area was first settled over the Edwards Aquifer centuries ago. Sound planning will be necessary to ensure clean and abundant water for generations to come and to maintain the aquifer as a primary strategic economic and environmental asset.” Read more from San Antonio Councilman Ron Nirenberg published in the Rivard Report.

Debate over Substation near Fredericksburg

“(Public reaction) is ranging from really high negative feelings, just outrage. I’ve talked to some landowners that were in tears,” Katherine Peake, an area landowner who also serves as president of the Hill Country Land Trust, said. “I’m convinced it’s needed. It’s just how can we minimize the impact of the lines and the substation?” Read more from the Fredericksburg Standard.

ASR and Texas water resources: A tool whose time has come?

With booming water demands and shrinking supplies, water resource managers in Central Texas and beyond are increasingly considering ASR -- aquifer storage and recovery -- as a tool for generating reliable groundwater supplies. While ASR is becoming more common throughout the rest of the U.S. and around the world, Texas has been slow to adopt the technology. Is it time for that to change? Read more

Rainwater harvesting ‘soaking in’ as way to conserve Texas’ water resources

After a long dry period, many parts of the state have finally received some badly needed rain, and those with rainwater harvesting systems have been reaping the rewards of this belated gift from Mother Nature, said Texas A&M AgriLife water resources experts. Read more

Austin Rides to the Front

Did you know that Austin’s green lanes, or cycle tracks, like the one you see on Guadalupe along The Drag or on Blue Bonnet Lane were inspired by the Netherlands and Denmark, where one-third to one-half of residents travel by bike daily? The improvements to Austin’s bike-friendly infrastructure and culture, including its recent designation as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, is featured in this month’s Planning Magazine, the magazine for the American Planning Association.

Milan J. Michalec elected President of the Cow Creek GCD

“I’m honored for the vote of confidence given by my fellow directors,” Michalec said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to maintain, and more importantly, to advance the reputation of the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District as one of the most forward-thinking and effective districts in Texas. Read more from the Boerne Star.

Meet Andrew Murr

Former Kimble County Judge, Republican Andrew Murr won the Republican nomination for House District 53 last night. This seat includes Bandera, Crockett, Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Llano, Mason, Medina, Menard, Real, Schleicher, Sutton counties, a district represented by Harvey Hilderbran since 1988. Andrew’s an 8th generation Texan, descendant of a pioneering family of one of our brave defenders of the Alamo, and grandson of former Governor Coke R. Stevenson. Learn more

Award-winning rainwater capture system crowning achievement of retiring Bandera High teacher

Congratulations to Brad Flink, who’s RWH project was honored by the Texas Water Development Board with its Texas Rain Catcher Award. HCA’s Rainwater Revival grant program provided support to document this project and create a model for other campuses. The stormwater retention and reuse system created by students is capable of holding 84,000 gallons for irrigating the Bulldogs' baseball field. Read more from Zeke MacCormak and the SA Express News.

Support for Low Impact Development

Low Impact Development (LID) is a comprehensive approach to site planning, design, and pollution prevention that attempts to minimize downstream impacts of land development by matching the pre-development runoff condition and creating a more sustainable and ecologically functional landscape. Read more from the Central Texas Land/Water Sustainability Forum.

Lawn alternatives gain popularity but ‘carpet grass’ remains norm

At a glance, Boerne shows up as an emerald dot on a NASA map of lawns. The area’s cultivated green St. Augustine or “carpet” grass also figures as a fraction of Duke University data in which 40.5 million acres are said to be covered by lawns across the nation. Accompanying that NASA-sponsored lawn-map is a statistic claiming that more than 7 billion gallons of water are used every year to maintain lawns. Lawns are, according to that site, “the single largest irrigated crop in America in terms of surface area.” Read part one of the two-part series from Boerne Star.

EPA Releases EnviroAtlas Ecosystem Mapping Tool

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released EnviroAtlas, a web-based interactive tool that integrates over 300 separate data layers, helps decision makers understand the implications of planning and policy decisions on our fragile ecosystems and the communities who depend on goods and services from these ecosystems. Learn more

Landowners in transmission line study area encouraged to send input by this Friday, May 30

A proposed transmission line and substation will affect Gillespie, Blanco and Kendall Counties. LCRA is requesting input using its “Project Questionnaire.” by this Friday. Read this helpful “Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions” fact sheet from Braun and Gresham. Learn more about the recent public meeting, links for additional information and what to expect next here. “We can insist on guarantees from LCRA and CTEC that once located, the lines and the substation will be built with regard for minimum aesthetic and environmental impact.” Read this letter to the editor from Hill Country neighbors.

Thinking about becoming a Master Naturalist?

The Hill Country Master Naturalists are now recruiting for their Fall Class. With a mission 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.” HCMN works in Bandera, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr, Edwards, Real, Kimble, Mason and Menard Counties. Learn more about how to apply. There are several other Master Naturalist programs in the Hill Country. Find a chapter near you.

Managers Discuss Hill Country’s Water Resources And The Drouth

The Trinity Aquifer and the Upper Guadalupe River are major components of the hill country’s available water supply. While these water resources typically do not receive as much attention as the more prominent Edwards Aquifer, for example, with the rapidly growing population in this part of the state their importance has never been more crucial. Read more from Livestock Weekly.

Electric Project Open House Draws Large Crowd

An estimated 200 people attended an open house May 15th in Stonewall to learn more about the proposed Blumenthal substation and 138-kV transmission line project that will affect that area. Representatives from the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), Central Texas Electric Cooperative (CTEC) and the consulting firm Power Engineers, were on hand to answer questions and receive input regarding the study area. Learn more

Environmental and economic protection through water supply development

Recent rainfall in Austin delivered more water to the Gulf, but little to lakes Travis and Buchanan, the area’s water supply reservoirs. With near average rainfall the last two years and the lakes continuing to fall, a historic flood or an extremely wet year is necessary to replenish central Texas water supplies and avoid the unthinkable. Read more from Tom Hegemier of the Central Texas Land Water Sustainability Forum.

Western Hill Country Ranch honored by TPWD

Congratulations to Ruthie and Johnnie Russell for being recognized by TPWD as a Lone Star Land Steward. The Russell’s chose to enact a conservation easement on their property because of growing pressure of land fragmentation. “Ranchettes make it difficult to conserve land on the scale necessary to keep habitat intact and ecological systems functioning” Ruthie said. Read more from the Texas Agricultural Land Trust and enjoy a great video about the Sycamore Ranch here.

Wildscape proves to be sustainable landscape alternative

“As the drought deepens, as water rationing becomes the norm, as human population booms and as indicator wildlife populations drastically decline, people are stuck wondering what kind of world we will leave to the next generations,” Read more from George Cates of Native American Seed, published in the Boerne Star.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Awarded Grant to Support Landowners in the Pedernales River Watershed

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) was recently awarded $100,000 in grants to protect the Texas state fish, Guadalupe Bass, in the Pedernales River basin. TPWD will be working with the Hill Country Alliance to identify willing landowners for habitat conservation work within the Pedernales catchment- an area totaling more than 800,000 acres in the heart of the Hill Country. Funds will be available on a competitive basis for cost-share projects, and will benefit the whole health of the river system. Learn More

Comfort Heritage Foundation Recognizes David K. Langford

David K. Langford is being honored for his local stewardship and the book, Hillingdon Ranch: Four Season, Six Generations. Langford is one of four recipients of the Comfort Heritage Foundation's annual award for outstanding contributions to the preservation of the heritage and culture of Comfort. The awards will be presented May 31st. Read More

Seeing Stars in Dripping Springs

As Texas booms, the state is less and less able to brag that the stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas. In the big cities and the sprawling suburbs, and even in Far West Texas near the McDonald Observatory, light pollution is increasingly limiting our ability to enjoy the night sky. But the Hill Country town of Dripping Springs is showing that the starry skies can be preserved or restored even as the state grows. Associate Editor Forrest Wilder writes about the growing dark skies movement and how unlike many environmental woes—climate change, for instance, or the extinction of species—light pollution is eminently reversible. More from the Texas Observer.

Judge’s Corner: Judge makes his stance on groundwater

Water is not only a property right, it is essential to the health and welfare of all Texas citizens. For that reason, groundwater conservation districts are authorized by Texas law to protect this resource of our great state. There are now 100 such districts throughout the state. These local boards are to oversee, regulate, limit, and conserve the groundwater resources of Texas for the public’s benefit now and in the future. More from Statesman.com.

Enlightening New Report on Texas Water Planning

A report issued by the non-profit Texas Center for Policy Studies (TCPS) finds that the current water planning process in Texas tends to over-estimate future water demand and under-estimate the potential for making better use of existing supplies. “This report shows that, with more reasonable demand projections and better use of conservation and drought management, the demand/supply gap in 2060 is less than one-half that predicted by the current 2012 State Water Plan issued by TWDB. Read more and download the report from TCPS. Read more from the Texas Tribune, “How Much Water Will Texas Really Need by 2060?”

Fair Oaks Ranch project raises water concerns in Comal County

“The Reserve at Fair Oaks Ranch is exactly the kind of proposed development that Rep. Doug Miller long has cited in calls to create a groundwater conservation district in Comal County…after four years of litigation, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality recently gave up its efforts to force Comal and Travis counties to create groundwater districts or join existing ones in neighboring counties.” “We would have liked to see the process continue,” said Milan J. Michalec, president of the Hill Country Alliance, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting natural resources. “There should be a district there and pumping should be managed by the appropriate authority.” - Read more from SA Express-News.

Landowners in Gillespie, Blanco and Kendall Counties

An open house will be held this Thursday, May 15th regarding a new LCRA electric substation and transmission line project in the Blumenthal area east of Fredericksburg. The meeting will be held at the Stonewall Chamber of Commerce from 5:30 – 7:30. Learn more and let your neighbors know.

San Marcos to offer rebates for rainwater harvest systems

The City of San Marcos Public Works Department is implementing a new program to help its customers conserve water. Through this program water customers can receive rebates for purchasing and installing rain barrels and large rainwater tank systems. Private home systems may qualify for up to $5,000, while commercial, institutional and multi-family systems may receive as much as $20,000 in rebates. Learn More

Keep Rivers Flowing

“Innovative Strategies to Protect and Restore Rivers,” is a 3-part webinar series designed to inform people about strategies to ensure the future health of Texas’ rivers, bays and estuaries. If you missed session one, presentations delivered by Myron Hess, Andy Sansom and Brian Richter are posted on the Texas Living Waters website. Mark your calendars and register now for the next two sessions scheduled for May 29th and June 25th. Great work by our friends at Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation and the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.

CASE CLOSED: Disappointment for Hill Country Aquifer Protection

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently halted a process that could have created groundwater conservation districts (GCDs) in some of the fasted growing areas of the Hill Country. TCEQ Executive Director Richard Hyde successfully petitioned the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) with a motion to dismiss the case that had been underway since 2010 to create GCDs in Western Travis and Western Comal counties. The request was granted January 27, 2014, and the case is now closed. Read More

May tour of Night Sky events scheduled in the Hill Country

HCA is hosting Night Sky educational programs the week of May 12th – 16th in Fredericksburg, Llano, Marble Falls and at the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. The HCA Night Sky Team welcomes Bill Wren of the McDonald Observatory back to the Hill Country to teach and inspire about proper lighting for the night sky. This is one of our most widely popular educational programs; we are discovering a growing regional consensus about the importance of protecting our starry Hill Country sky. Learn More

Hill Country Alliance Adds New Staff to Focus on Water Policy and Landowner Outreach Programs

The Hill Country Alliance is pleased to welcome two new full-time staff members, Charlie Flatten and Katherine Romans, who will respectively manage the organization’s water policy and landowner outreach programs. Read More

Water Development Board’s ombudsman will help towns navigate the process

Senator Troy Fraser and Carolos Rubinstein visited Fredericksburg last week to introduce TWDB’s new “rural ombudsman” Doug Shaw. “We hope underground aquifer storage becomes commonplace, as it is less intrusive than new reservoirs and it suffers less evaporation….But everyone will have to pitch in to begin thinking about and using water in more efficient ways.” Read more from the Fredericksburg Standard.

Bandera High School Among TWDB’s Texas Rain Catcher Award Winners

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) announced recently that Bandera High School is among the winners of its annual Texas Rain Catcher Award, a rainwater harvesting competition and recognition program. The award recognizes excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems in Texas, promotes the technology, and educates the public. Learn More

Wind farm and transmission line updates from SOSHE

Final CREZ lines have been completed, a public meeting will be held in Stonewall May 15th regarding the Blumenthal Substation and new transmission line, The first major wind farm in Central Texas is now online in Mills County. Learn more from the most recent Save Our Scenic Hill Country (SOSHE) newsletter.

Strong Towns Curbside Chat Thursday, May 8th, 6–7:30pm at the LBJ Museum in San Marcos

Meet Chuck Marohn, President of Strong Towns for a candid talk and conversation about the future of America’s cities, towns and neighborhoods. “The current approach to growth emphasizes investments in new infrastructure to serve or induce new development. This approach uses public dollars inefficiently, destructively subsidizes one type of development over another and leaves massive maintenance liabilities to future generations.” Event Details

Texas Riparian & Stream Ecosystem Workshop

The Texas Water Resources Institute’s Texas Riparian and Stream Ecosystem Education Program will host a workshop from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. May 13 in Kerrville for area residents interested in land and water stewardship in the Upper Guadalupe watershed. Learn More

City Wastewater Discharge May Threaten Clear-running Creeks and Water Wells

Some water experts believe Hill Country clear-running creeks and streams may soon be a thing of the past if cities are permitted to discharge treated wastewater directly into creeks such as Onion Creek. Water wells may also become contaminated. Read More

Keeping Rivers Flowing: Innovative Strategies to Protect and Restore Rivers - Starts April 30

"Keeping Rivers Flowing" is a free three-part webinar series designed to inform interested persons about strategies to ensure the future health of Texas' rivers, bays and estuaries. Drawing on practical experience from here in Texas and around the world, speakers will discuss innovative approaches for ensuring that rivers, bays and estuaries continue to get the flow needed to protect water quality and support healthy fish and wildlife populations. Learn More

Common Misperceptions Regarding Land and Wildlife Management in Central Texas

There’s a lot of bad information floating around in the Hill Country regarding land management, in addition to a lot of good information. Sometimes it is difficult to sort out the bad from the good. Misinformation can come from a variety of sources – the coffee shop, the feed store, magazine articles, well meaning neighbors and even natural resource professionals. By clarifying some of the common misperceptions, people will be able to make better decisions regarding natural resources. Steve’s writings are timeless. Read more from Steve Nelle and educate your neighbors.

Join HCA at Upcoming Bennett Trust Education Program: Protecting the Legacy of the Edwards Plateau

The Bennett Trust will host its first ever land stewardship and education conference April 23-25 in Kerrville. Wyman Meinzer, state photographer of Texas, will deliver the keynote address on the history and legacy of the Edwards Plateau. Attendees will also have the opportunity to visit local ranches, vineyards and orchards to learn more about sustainable practices in horticulture, forage production and wildlife management. Learn More

TWDB opens SWIFT for public comment

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has opened their State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) rules making process for public comment. Participation in the rules making process is critical to ensure that the intentions of the State Legislature are carried out in the long-term administration of the State’s SWIFT funds. The HCA has submitted a list of recommendations to the TWDB that will help ensure spring and stream-flow sustainability in the Hill Country.

PEC Candidate Forum April 24th in Johnson City

The Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) is hosting a candidates forum for two board of director seats up for election this year. The meeting will be held 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 24 at PEC Headquarters, 201 S. Ave. F in Johnson City. The event will also include discussion of a ballot referendum on whether to switch to single-member district elections for board directors. Learn more about the candidates from the San Marcos Mercury. Learn more about the process and forum from the PEC.

Hays County makes pitch for agency to secure, divvy up water

The Hays County Commissioners Court is actively searching for partners in a quest to supply water for the future growth expected west of I-35. Additionally, developers, water marketers, and local politicians are looking for new sources of water that will provide for that growth. The Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer east of I-35 is being marketed as an abundant resource ready for export into the Hill Country that would supplement the Hill Country’s already strained Trinity Aquifer. This Austin American Statesman article by Andra Lim reports on a recent Hays, Travis and Williamson combined County Commissioners Court meeting to explore the formation of a regional water grid that would pipe water from Bastrop and Lee Counties to points west of I-35.

Hays County makes pitch for agency to secure, divvy up water

The Hays County Commissioners Court is actively searching for partners in a quest to supply water for the future growth expected west of I-35. Additionally, developers, water marketers, and local politicians are looking for new sources of water that will provide for that growth. The Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer east of I-35 is being marketed as an abundant resource ready for export into the Hill Country that would supplement the Hill Country’s already strained Trinity Aquifer. This Austin American Statesman article by Andra Lim reports on a recent Hays, Travis and Williamson combined County Commissioners Court meeting to explore the formation of a regional water grid that would pipe water from Bastrop and Lee Counties to points west of I-35.

Sky Lewey, HCA Board Member receives Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Award

Sky has been selected to receive a “Lone Star Land Steward Award” for her work in education and outreach for the Nueces River Authority in Uvalde County. “Sky Lewey is a conservation educator with extraordinary leadership and dedication. A key figure in the efforts to restore healthy riparian function to the Nueces River Basin and beyond.” David Langford, HCA Advisor, and his wife Myrna are also receiving an award for their landowner cooperative in Kendall County. Congratulations HCA leaders! Read more from TPWD.

To Deal With Drought, Texas Needs to Manage Growth

“With the exception of the lower Rio Grande Valley and small parts of Far West Texas, much of the state has received less than 50 percent of normal rainfall,” reads TWDB’s most recent report. “This doesn’t bode well for the next six months. A dry winter generally portends a dry spring and summer.” Read more from Nextcity.org.

Amazing rally for Bracken Bat Cave

Bat Conservation International has inspired major support to prevent intense development of 1500 acres adjacent to Bracken Cave from the City of San Antonio, Mayor Julian Castro, City Councilman Ron Nirenberg, The Kronkosky Charitable Foundation and others. Find out more about recent negotiations to save the cave and learn about upcoming opportunities to personally visit Bracken Bat Cave and see the bats take flight.

The Great Grassland Myth of the Texas Hill Country

How many times have you heard that the Hill Country was once a great vast grassland with only a modest covering of trees and brush? Although this longstanding myth is deeply ingrained and embraced by many government agencies, biologists, landowners and professionals, it is false and misleading. Learn what the Hill Country was really like prior to 1860 from eye-witness accounts, and why it is important to understand the past. Read and share from Steve Nelle.

Georgetown moves to limit residential lawns and landscaping to save water

“The rules require residential developers to use only drought-resistant plants from a list provided by the city. St. Augustine grass, which tends to be very thirsty, can only be planted in areas where there is 10 inches of topsoil and less than 6 hours of full sunlight per day.” Read more from the American Statesman (subscription required). Learn more about St. Augustine and the impact lawn watering has on our regional water supply from Native American Seed here. KXAN reports “more buyers want homes with smaller yards and less grass to water.” View video here.

The High Cost of San Antonio’s North-South Water Divide

The fact is the city’s sprawling suburbs, gated communities and ex-urban neighborhoods are addicted to lawn and landscape watering. SAWS officials say about one-third of all the water we use in the hot summer months is pumped to keep grass alive. Not humans, but grass. Learn More

TWDB launches Interactive State Water Plan Website

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has developed a new Interactive 2012 State Water Plan webpage that will let water users statewide take an up-close look at data in the 2012 State Water Plan and how our water needs will change over time. This data will arm communities with important information as they plan for projects to submit for State Water Implementation Fund (SWIFT) funding. Learn More

A more “Night Skies” friendly community

It started when the Kimble County Commissioners Court, followed by the City Council, passed resolutions supporting voluntary efforts to protect the Night Skies. This paralleled actions being taken in other Hill Country communities to preserve the awe-inspiring Night Skies and the enjoyment that comes with stargazing, including its attraction for visitors. Read more from the Junction Eagle.

More News

Upcoming Events

July

July 23 in Spring Branch - Comal County Land & Water Expo - Hosted by the Central Texas Conservation Partnership - Details

July 29 in Austin - Public Hearing on SH 45SW at Bowie High School - Details

August

August 6 in Boerne - Workshop exploring how families can legally protect and preserve the legacy of their land – and be eligible for tax relief at the same time – Hosted by the Cibolo Conservancy - Details

August 15 in Dripping Springs - Better Lights for Better Nights - Details

August 19 in Junction - AgriLife Living Waters event - Details

August 26 in Austin - Austin-San Antonio Corridor Council & Lone Star Rail District Discussion on the Future of Transportation & Reception with State Representative Larry Phillips - Details

September

September 12 in Kendalia - 2014 New Landowner Series: Wildlife and Range Management, Brush Work and Sculpting - Presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service - Details

September 26-28 in Belton - Renewable Energy Roundup - Details

September 28 in Austin - 7th Annual Celebration of Children in Nature - Hosted by The Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin and the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center - Details

See more upcoming events


Photo Contest

The 2014 photo contest has ended. Stay tuned for the announcement of our winners.


Imagine a place where vibrant communities draw strength from their natural assets to sustain their quality of life. A place where citizens care about protecting the special qualities of a region – their region. A place where people and partners band together to envision a better economic future, tackle shared challenges and care for the natural, scenic, and recreational resources that define the place they call home.
~This is a Conservation Landscape



Hill Country View
Listen and Learn



Maps

Helpful Mapping Resources - Beautiful and informative maps of the region to print and share.

HCA Dynamic Mapping Tool - Interactive online GIS mapping tool

 
Website Development by
Website Development By
Edit PageUploadHelp