Texas Land Trends report shows value of conservation easements to ag, water, wildlife

Texas Land Trends report shows value of conservation easements to ag, water, wildlife

The Texas Land Trends project of Texas A&M’s Natural Resources Institute, or NRI, has published a special series report describing Texas landowner participation in land conservation easements and their value to agricultural production, water and wildlife. About 83 percent of lands in Texas are classified as privately-owned working lands, signifying the critical role private landowners play in protecting the state’s valuable resources. Land-use conversion, including fragmentation, accounted for the loss of approximately 1.1 million acres of working lands in Texas…

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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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Water emerges as ‘the new oil’ in $32.5 million sale of vast Permian Basin ranch

Water emerges as ‘the new oil’ in $32.5 million sale of vast Permian Basin ranch

Toby Darden stomped on the ATV’s gas pedal, carving through blustery winds to reach the far northern corner of his 37,000-acre West Texas ranch. He wanted to show off the crown jewel. This wasn’t the spectacular views of the Davis Mountains or the herds of aoudad rams with their distinctive curved horns. It was a big hole in the ground, the first cut at a well — not to bring oil up but water, the precious commodity of the Permian…

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Flows of the Llano still strong

Flows of the Llano still strong

The Llano River continues to flow strongly past the gage in Llano; the latest reading is 442 cfs, well above the median flow of 157 cfs. Over the three months since last fall’s rains, the Llano has flowed at a 3-month average of 4,111 cfs, greater than the previous recorded 3-month average of 3,137 in late 2000. The next highest 3-month average i 2,591 cfs in 1992, then 2,315 cfs during the drought breaker in 1957. Average flow for the one-month period between September…

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Trinity Glen Rose District studies impacts of new pumping from the Trinity aquifer

Trinity Glen Rose District studies impacts of new pumping from the Trinity aquifer

Over the past year, the Trinity Glen Rose District (TGR) has been working with a groundwater modeling consultant to take a look at how some projected new pumping from the Trinity Aquifer, exempt from TGR regulations, might impact the water source over time. The District was alerted about a year ago that a new water supply company was planning to possibly withdraw approximately 17,000 acre feet of water (5.5 billion gallons) each year to supply water to developments north of…

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Desalination has a waste problem

Desalination has a waste problem

The waste product from desalination is growing too large to ignore, argues a paper from a United Nations think tank that provides the first estimate of global brine production from desalination. Producing fresh water in the driest parts of the world by removing the salt from sea water is resulting in a deluge of brine, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. The amount of brine generated by the world’s nearly 16,000 desalination plants is 50 percent larger than…

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Could groundwater pumping cause the ground to sink? It’s possible, scientists say

Could groundwater pumping cause the ground to sink? It’s possible, scientists say

For the last several years, scientists have warned of the sinking ground beneath cities along the Gulf Coast. Known as subsidence, it’s a strange phenomenon that gradually deflates the surface of the ground as groundwater is pumped from beneath. The threat has been mostly noted in cities along the coast, where underground soils are largely composed of a sandy clay. Central Texas lies 130 miles from the coast, but that doesn’t mean parts of it — Bastrop and Lee counties…

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Cow Creek leader reveals suspicions of WCID creation

Cow Creek leader reveals suspicions of WCID creation

Milan Michalec, president of the board of the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District, will address Boerne’s City Council on Tuesday night to question the propriety of WCID No. 3. Michalec describes shortfalls in the process as “egregious” and “secretive,” and believes that Senate Bill 914, which triggered WCID No. 3, should be repealed. With a single public notice printed in a December 2016 issue of the San Antonio Express-News, SB 914 was filed on Feb. 15, 2017, and later approved…

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Technology and renewables are key to battling climate change

Technology and renewables are key to battling climate change

As the long-term effects of climate change impacts natural resources, one study says it might also dig into the pocketbooks of energy consumers. With energy costs rising due to rising global temperatures, more entities are turning to renewable technologies to help their customers. According to the fourth National Climate Assessment, residential and commercial electricity expenses are projected to increase anywhere from four to 18 percent by 2040 nationwide. Those projections include a reduction in electricity used for heat in states…

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Climate change could turn Earth’s aquifers into a time bomb

Climate change could turn Earth’s aquifers into a time bomb

Groundwater is one of the most important resources on Earth. People use around 77 billion gallons of groundwater every day, nearly all of it originating in bodies of permeable rock known as aquifers. A new scientific study shows that if climate change wreaks havoc on the Earth’s groundwater, it would present an environmental “time bomb” with global consequences. And we might not know until it’s too late. Over 2 billion people around the globe use groundwater as their primary source…

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