Austin’s Water Forward plan is a bold step into the future

Austin’s Water Forward plan is a bold step into the future

  • December 11, 2018
  • News

One of the clearest threats to the future of the Texas economy and the well-being of our communities is the lack of water. During times of drought, supplies are already stretched razor thin in many areas of the state – so, what will happen when our state’s population more than doubles in the coming decades? Millions of Texans could be left high and dry. This is not an issue that we can afford to ignore, and last week the City of…

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Report: Edwards Aquifer at greater risk with climate change, population growth

Report: Edwards Aquifer at greater risk with climate change, population growth

The Edwards Aquifer could be at risk in the next 50 years as a result of warmer temperatures and more frequent and severe droughts, compounded by population growth. “These climate change impacts will be exacerbated in central Texas’s rapidly urbanizing regions, as increasing impervious cover will affect water quality and rates of runoff and recharge,” stated the Fourth National Climate Assessment, a 1,656-page report released by the federal government. Officials in California, Florida and other coastal states are increasingly concerned…

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Wharton County reservoir key in updated Colorado River management plan

Wharton County reservoir key in updated Colorado River management plan

  • December 10, 2018
  • News

A long-running feud pitting Austin-area lakeside communities against farmers downriver could settle down with proposed changes to a water management plan for the Highland Lakes. The pending update to what’s essentially a user’s manual for operating the river could mean that more water will stay in Central Texas because of a new reservoir designed to help quench thirsty rice farms. The Arbuckle Reservoir, scheduled to come online in 2019, will store water for agricultural use in Wharton and Matagorda counties…

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Agency: Cost to curb Texas flooding over 10 years is $31.5B

Agency: Cost to curb Texas flooding over 10 years is $31.5B

  • December 10, 2018
  • News

DALLAS — The cost to curtail damaging flooding across Texas over the next 10 years is more than $31.5 billion and state officials are urging lawmakers to adopt legislation meant to end a cycle of “repairing and rebuilding,” according to a series of recommendations released Thursday. The Texas Water Development Board provided the recommendations to lawmakers ahead of the legislative session that begins next month. They’re part of an updated Texas Water Development Board flood assessment report that says coastal…

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Water Forward plan including artificial aquifers, graywater reuse gets council nod

Water Forward plan including artificial aquifers, graywater reuse gets council nod

  • November 29, 2018
  • News

A 100-year water resiliency plan that calls for massive underground reservoirs and reuse of wastewater is now city policy after gaining the approval of the Austin City Council. The plan, dubbed Water Forward, has been in the works since 2014, when years of drought led council members to call for a look at the city’s long-term water future. It proposes creating artificial aquifers that could store billions of gallons of potable water. Crucially for environmentalists, it promotes reusing water from…

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Water symposium addresses the future of flooding in Texas

Water symposium addresses the future of flooding in Texas

  • November 27, 2018
  • News

One month after the destructive flooding of Texas Hill Country rivers led to multiple deaths and tens of millions of dollars in property damage, scientists, regional water management leaders, and academics are still weighing the consequences and the prospect of future severe weather events in Texas. The frequency and severity of weather events ranging from the recent flooding along the Llano, Colorado, Trinity, and Blanco rivers, as well as devastating flooding from Hurricane Harvey, have left communities ill-prepared, with experts…

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Making the connection: Watersheds and our water supplies

Making the connection: Watersheds and our water supplies

  • November 27, 2018
  • News

The heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding Central Texas faced a few weeks ago broke records and served as an important reminder about the connection between land and water. After experiencing one of the wettest Septembers on the state’s record, followed by catastrophic flooding from the Llano River, Lake Travis — designed to hold back floodwaters for the City of Austin and its downstream communities — reached its highest level since 1997, forcing the Lower Colorado River Authority to open four floodgates…

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Texas Water Symposium will explore extreme flooding in the Lone Star state

Texas Water Symposium will explore extreme flooding in the Lone Star state

  • November 7, 2018
  • News

The next recording of the Texas Water Symposium is planned for 7pm on Thursday, November 15th with a conversation about how man-made infrastructure can influence flooding in Hill Country creeks and rivers. The program, titled The future of flooding in Texas: How do we protect life and property in the face of extreme weather events?  will be held at the Texas State University Teaching Theater in San Marcos, Texas. Texas Water Symposium radio broadcast recordings are free and open to…

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LCRA dinged for hiring practices and lack of transparency

LCRA dinged for hiring practices and lack of transparency

  • November 5, 2018
  • News

Even as the Lower Colorado River Authority, the utility that supplies water to more than a million Central Texans, is a “sophisticated, well-functioning organization,” it lacks transparency and should hire more women and people of color, according to a state report released Thursday. As the LCRA seeks new water supplies to satisfy the thirst of a booming region, the Sunset Advisory Commission staff report said the river authority’s “approach to public engagement is inconsistent and often reactive,” often leading to…

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Texas’ water quality challenge and the need for better communication in an era of increasing water quality contamination events

Texas’ water quality challenge and the need for better communication in an era of increasing water quality contamination events

  • October 25, 2018
  • News

As Texas cities experience an increase in incidents associated with water quality contamination, the need for public education and engagement increases. The discussion in this paper identifies, based on publicly available data, three of the most common incidents in Texas related to drinking water and environmental contamination: boil water notices (BWNs), sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs), and lead in drinking water. Trends observed from 2011 to 2016 indicate a sharp upward increase in the incidents of such events. Increased frequency of…

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