Hill Country caves reveal secrets to the biology of cave-dwelling animals

Hill Country caves reveal secrets to the biology of cave-dwelling animals

Along U.S. Highway 281 headed north to the Comal County line, drivers can see shopping centers and housing developments that look indistinguishable from suburbia elsewhere in the country. But hundreds of feet below the highway, inside the Edwards Aquifer and some local caves, new species of salamanders, crustaceans, and other creatures are being discovered. Animals that live inside the Edwards aquifer include two species of blind catfishes. A recent report also documents the discovery of several species of crustaceans (shrimp-like…

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Scientists have big hopes for Uvalde Pool study

Scientists have big hopes for Uvalde Pool study

Ron Green, a scientist at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, and his team of hydro-geologists are busy collecting data on and creating a lumped parameter model for the Uvalde Pool, a major reservoir of underground water centered over central Uvalde County and part of the Edwards Aquifer. Though the project is relatively new, Green said their research in Uvalde has been ongoing for over 20 years. “For over 20-plus years, we’ve been trying to quantify how much water goes…

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Texas struggles to keep pace as thirst for water intensifies

Texas struggles to keep pace as thirst for water intensifies

DALLAS (AP) — About 1,000 people arrive in Texas each day, drawn by jobs, newly built homes and other opportunities. But in a state where prolonged drought is a regular occurrence, officials are struggling to ensure they can sate everyone’s thirst. Water experts are trying to determine how “resilient” the state’s water infrastructure is in keeping safe drinking water flowing through the taps. There are indications that the system is more fragile than once thought: After Hurricane Harvey in 2017, more than…

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Could a tug-of-war between two Central Texas counties leave residents without drinking water?

Could a tug-of-war between two Central Texas counties leave residents without drinking water?

Dirk Aaron’s timing was terrible. He took over management of Bell County’s Clearwater Underground Water Conservation District in the summer of 2011, which the National Weather Service regards as the driest year in Texas history. What made the drought particularly difficult was that the less it rained, the more groundwater people pumped. When Mother Nature isn’t watering your yard or your farm, you have to do it yourself. That dynamic played hell with the resources Aaron had been hired to…

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Texas is growing fast. We need to protect our water.

Texas is growing fast. We need to protect our water.

Texas is one of the fastest growing states in the country. But a downside of this growth is that, coupled with extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, many of our existing water resources are becoming overburdened. If trends continue, our water supply will be significantly reduced over the next 50 years, and everything we love about the Lone Star State will start to disappear: the economy, recreation, our way of life. According to the 2017 State Water Plan,…

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Well’s gone dry: aquifers taking a hit during the drought

Well’s gone dry: aquifers taking a hit during the drought

“It’s not out of the ordinary to have wells drop in a severe drought like this, when there is a really terrific shortage of groundwater,” said John Fisher, a Bell County commissioner, who lives in southern Bell County near the Williamson County line. As of July 10, most of Williamson County is classified as abnormally dry, with a portion in the northern part of the county in a moderate drought, according to the drought report and map released every Tuesday…

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Hoping to raise water awareness, state returns to a famous ad man

Hoping to raise water awareness, state returns to a famous ad man

An Austin advertising legend who once helped sell “Don’t mess with Texas” is now working with state officials on a sequel: a campaign to get Texans to cherish water, from their lakes to their sinks. Roy Spence, one of the founders of ad giant GSD&M, is partnering with Texas State University’s Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and the Texas Water Development Board on the project, which is still in its early stages….read more at Austin-American Statesman. 

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River Revival: Restoring a once-vital waterway with recycled wastewater

River Revival: Restoring a once-vital waterway with recycled wastewater

The Santa Cruz River once flowed year-round in Tucson, AZ, supporting one of the largest mesquite forests in the world.  But urban development and extensive groundwater withdrawals in recent years caused the river’s volume to dwindle. Today, city administrators hope to use recycled effluent to restore the river’s flow to historic levels and revive riparian habitats… Read more from the Forester Daily News.

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Austin’s on the wrong side of the 100th meridian

Austin’s on the wrong side of the 100th meridian

The invisible line that divides the arid western part of the country from the wetter eastern half is on the move, and that has important implications for the Texas capital. Meet Robert Lee. Not the Confederate general, the town. Robert Lee, Texas is a ranching community of 1,025 that lost its only source of water to the second-worst drought in recorded state history. By August 2011, Lake E.V. Spence, a praying-mantis-shaped, man-made reservoir once revered for its striped bass fishing,…

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