Centuries-old irrigation system shows how to manage scarce water

Centuries-old irrigation system shows how to manage scarce water

It’s spring again, the time of year—for the 300th time in some instances—when New Mexico communities come together to clean the acequias, irrigation channels that carry snowmelt from the mountains to newly tilled farm fields. Each annual cleaning is one more demonstration that at least here, in these close-knit communities arrayed across arid and rugged rangeland, it’s possible for people to share scarce resources to achieve a common goal—in this case, making sure everyone in the group has enough water.…

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Local official opposes state water bill in Austin hearing

Local official opposes state water bill in Austin hearing

Last week Boerne’s Milan Michalec, chairman of Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District, was in Austin speaking against House Bill 1806. Authored by Senator Donna Campbell, HB 1806 was the subject of a public hearing in the Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs committee. It is intended to authorize the San Antonio Water System to sell water into particular, adjacent counties. One of only three of the seven committee members were present for the hearing, Dist. 18 Senator Lois Kolkhorst spoke, objecting…

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Endgame: Water for a water district

Endgame: Water for a water district

For well over two years and spanning two legislatures, Kendall County Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) No. 3 has searched for a source of water. It now appears that a source has been found, but only if the law that protects the Edwards Aquifer can be changed by the same body that created it. When Senate Bill (SB) 1170 was introduced by Senator Donna Campbell, a companion House Bill (HB) 1806 by Representative Tracey King was also filed. This…

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KXAN investigation sparks bill to make sure companies pay for environmental violations

KXAN investigation sparks bill to make sure companies pay for environmental violations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Texas State Representative recently laid out a House Bill that aims to protect clean air and clean water by making sure companies pay for environmental violations. The bill cited a KXAN investigation that found TCEQ had offered discounts on many penalties, even for repeat violators. State Rep. Erin Zweiner, D-Driftwood, laid out House Bill 3035, a bill that would make certain that the penalties imposed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are at least equal…

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How San Antonio uses its water to influence Kendall County development

How San Antonio uses its water to influence Kendall County development

 Two years have passed since Kendall County Water Control and Improvement District (WCID) No. 3 was introduced in Senate Bill (SB) 914, by Sen. Donna Campbell.   As written, 1,055 acres were to be developed and more than 2,000 homes built, but it had no source for a water supply.  Boerne City Council considered consenting to creation of the district in early 2019 – now WCID No. 3 and 3A – but members voted unanimously to table the matter indefinitely.  However,…

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Oil or property rights: House panel clashes over which to favor as it weighs eminent domain reforms

Oil or property rights: House panel clashes over which to favor as it weighs eminent domain reforms

Lawmakers, lobbyists and landowners sparred at a Capitol committee hearing on Thursday over a batch of bills designed to protect property owners whose land may be seized by private companies to build oil and gas pipelines. A bipartisan — though largely Republican — group of House and Senate legislators whose districts have been targeted for pipeline construction amid a historic oil and gas boom have proposed several measures this year aimed at helping landowners and local officials negotiate with deep-pocketed…

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Two Views: In pipeline politics, love of the land is a shared value

Two Views: In pipeline politics, love of the land is a shared value

We can be fairly certain that gas pipeline giant Kinder Morgan didn’t have this consequence in mind when it decided to route a massive, nearly four-foot diameter gas pipeline through the Texas Hill Country and over the fragile Edwards Aquifer. That consequence is a renewed understanding among political partisans of all kinds that love of the land is a value shared by all. Well, maybe not the pipeline owners. The Permian Highway Pipeline cuts through some of what traditional political labeling calls…

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Dr. Robert Mace to receive Texas Rainmaker Award

Dr. Robert Mace to receive Texas Rainmaker Award

Texas Water Foundation is honored to announce the 6th recipient of the Texas Rainmaker Award – Dr. Robert Mace. The Award is given to leaders who have made exceptional contributions and long-lasting impact to promote sustainable water policies in Texas. On May 7, 2019, Dr. Mace’s achievements will be celebrated at a reception and dinner at the Bob Bullock Museum. The event begins with a reception at 6:30pm followed by dinner and an award ceremony at 7:30pm. Previous recipients of…

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Railroad Commission, Kinder-Morgan sued over route of Permian Highway Pipeline

Railroad Commission, Kinder-Morgan sued over route of Permian Highway Pipeline

Hays County, the city of Kyle and a coalition of Hill Country landowners have filed a lawsuit to fight the route of Kinder Morgan’s proposed Permian Highway Pipeline and challenge how the state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry allows companies to use eminent domain laws. During a Monday morning news conference at Kyle City Hall, the coalition released copies of a 19-page lawsuit against the Texas Railroad Commission, five agency executives, pipeline operator Kinder Morgan and a…

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Time for reform of eminent domain law

Time for reform of eminent domain law

Corporate entities that take property with eminent domain authority often claim the system is working. It does. For them. Corporations with this powerful, often abused, tool are not required to follow the same rules of transparency that a government must observe. They are not required to have public meetings. Eminent domain takings in general do not mandate a good faith offer. Texas Farm Bureau has documented many cases where property owners believe they’ve been slighted in the process. Such is…

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