Edwards Aquifer Protection Program and sales tax funding questions answered

Edwards Aquifer Protection Program and sales tax funding questions answered

A dialogue has emerged on the relative merits of programs apparently now competing for a future share of the City sales tax. This has included confusing statements about the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program (EAPP). As chair of the Conservation Advisory Board, the recommending body to City Council for the program, I’d like to clarify by addressing key questions. What does EAPP do and why is it important? In policy science jargon, the EAPP is an elegant response to a wicked…

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One Water: Projects In Motion

One Water: Projects In Motion

Ian Taylor, Chief Executive Officer at New Braunfels Utilities, knows his city is growing, fast. And that with that growth means looking at new ideas to manage resources. “I really struggled with [One Water] because … it was just kind of this out there concept,” Taylor explained at the Texas Water Symposium held on November 21, 2019 in San Marcos. “I had trouble trying to figure out how to nail it down and figure out how you apply this thing.…

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NIGHTS OVER TUCSON: How the Tucson, Arizona, LED conversion improved the quality of the night

NIGHTS OVER TUCSON: How the Tucson, Arizona, LED conversion improved the quality of the night

Can a lighting retrofit in a growing metropolitan city save energy, maintain safety standards, and protect the starry night sky? __ Tucson, Arizona, is a major metropolitan city in the southwest United States. The city has a long-standing commitment to best lighting practices that protect the night. In fact, people who move to the area often remark on how bright the stars appear to shine. But as the city has grown, so has its light pollution. With major astronomical observatories…

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Austin’s aging water pipes leaked 6 billion gallons in a year

Austin’s aging water pipes leaked 6 billion gallons in a year

Investigative Summary: KXAN investigated Austin’s water loss, enough to fill Lady Bird Lake twice, in 2015. Now, the city is losing more water through leaks and pipes, more than six billion gallons in 2018 alone. KXAN investigator Kevin Clark questioned Austin Water’s Director about the losses, while City Council’s new Water Oversight Committee also works to address the losses. Kristine Poland says she woke up one morning in late-September to find her street flooded. A 12-inch water line blew along…

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ULI releases report for “Activating the San Marcos Riverfront”

ULI releases report for “Activating the San Marcos Riverfront”

The Urban Land Institute released a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) report regarding land use along the San Marcos River in August. The City of San Marcos, the Greater San Marcos Partnership and Texas State University partnered with the Austin District Council of Urban Land Institute in Fall 2018 to examine land use along the San Marcos River. According to the report, “the Technical Assistance Panel offers recommendations for ways to unlock economic potential by making the river more connected to…

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Trinity Aquifer sustainable yield study receives strong support

Trinity Aquifer sustainable yield study receives strong support

On Oct. 22, Hays County approved an interlocal agreement that will involve installation of two groundwater monitor wells near Jacob’s Well and sampling of groundwater in the vicinity of Jacob’s Well. On Oct. 1, Travis County approved the continuation of groundwater study for southwest Travis County. Recent strong support from Hays and Travis Counties provides funding that will help fill critical data gaps for the Trinity Aquifer Sustainable Yield Study. The sustainable yield of an aquifer is the amount of…

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Study shows declining water levels in Trinity aquifer; local leaders urge creation of groundwater conservation district

Study shows declining water levels in Trinity aquifer; local leaders urge creation of groundwater conservation district

Homestead resident John Colman’s nearly 1.5-acre property near Bee Cave runs on well water and has since he and his wife brought the property in 2010. The well system is used for everyday uses including drinking water, washing, topping off the pool and irrigation. Last year, after the land’s original well met the end of its life, the Colmans had to install a new well on the property, and what he learned in the process about the importance of groundwater…

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Economic valuation of groundwater in Texas

Economic valuation of groundwater in Texas

Groundwater is a strategic economic asset, and recent Texas Supreme Court decisions have strengthened private ownership rights in groundwater. Despite the economic and political stakes, debate on how to actually value groundwater has been sparse. In response, this article sets forth seven methods of economically valuing groundwater in Texas and uses case studies and hypotheticals informed by real data to assess the valuation techniques’ strengths and weaknesses under a range of conditions… Read more from the Texas Water Journal  

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Replacing Mother Nature Can Be Expensive

Replacing Mother Nature Can Be Expensive

“We take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude,” Dr. Tom Arsuffi stressed near the beginning of the most recent Texas Water Symposium. The panel discussion, moderated by Katherine Romans, Executive Director of the Hill Country Alliance, also brought together District 53 Rep. Andy Murr and Texas A&M researcher Hughes Simpson to discuss the preservation of natural assets. “We’re losing those free things that nature provides us,” Arsuffi continued, referring to everything from photosynthesis to healthy soils…

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Sprawl Costs Americans $107 Billion a Year, Says Study

Sprawl Costs Americans $107 Billion a Year, Says Study

Urban sprawl isn’t a new phenomenon. But new analysis from City Observatory has finally quantified the cost of building cities that make us travel farther between the places where we live, work, and play. They call it the “Sprawl Tax.” Based on numbers from a 2015 Brookings report, the new study found that commuters in the country’s 50 largest metro areas pay an additional $107 billion a year in travel costs and time navigating the sprawl between work and home—at…

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