Texans must treat every drop of water as precious

Texans must treat every drop of water as precious

The state of Texas is a behemoth. At some 268,000 square miles — from the Piney Woods of East Texas, the Hill Country and the Panhandle to the desert mountains of West Texas and the Gulf Coast — the Lone Star State encompasses disparate climate regions, each with varied economic, social and environmental drivers. As climate change continues, each of these areas will change. As a general rule, scientists predict a significantly warmer and drier climate — with occasional catastrophic…

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Ensuring One Water delivers for healthy waterways: A framework for incorporating healthy waterways into One Water plans and projects

Ensuring One Water delivers for healthy waterways: A framework for incorporating healthy waterways into One Water plans and projects

The One Water approach offers tremendous opportunities for improving how water is managed within communities. Using water efficiently and taking advantage of diverse, locally available water supplies are important goals. It is also important that the approach support communities in assessing how their water use affects the health of waterways, both upstream, where water is sourced, and downstream, where other communities and aquatic resources may be impacted. Local water capture and reuse technologies are some of the most successful innovations…

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opinions+water: Time for Texas to get serious about controlling water loss

opinions+water: Time for Texas to get serious about controlling water loss

This fall the state’s 16 regional water planning groups will be submitting to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) revised plans for meeting projected water demands in their area of Texas over the next fifty years — to 2070 and even beyond. These “2021” regional water plans, once reviewed and approved by TWDB, will be the culmination of the latest five-year review and revision cycle established by the passage of Senate Bill 1 by the Texas Legislature in 1997. The…

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City could store three Lake Austins’ worth of water underground by 2040

City could store three Lake Austins’ worth of water underground by 2040

Austin gets all of its water from the Highland Lakes, but that might not always be the case. The city recently took a first step towards storing massive amounts of water underground. If the plan works, it could help Austin survive as climate change threatens traditional water supplies. The technique is called aquifer storage and recovery, or ASR. In it, utilities pump water into underground aquifers to save it for later. Aquifer storage and recovery is touted as a good…

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To manage wildfire, California looks to what tribes have known all along

To manage wildfire, California looks to what tribes have known all along

Fire has always been part of California’s landscape. But long before the vast blazes of recent years, Native American tribes held annual controlled burns that cleared out underbrush and encouraged new plant growth. Now, with wildfires raging across Northern California, joining other record-breaking fires from recent years, government officials say tackling the fire problem will mean bringing back “good fire,” much like California’s tribes once did. Read more Lauren Sommer with NPR here.

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Water, Texas: Three thirsty Texas cities are global leaders in water innovation

Water, Texas: Three thirsty Texas cities are global leaders in water innovation

Emily Dickinson once wrote that “water is taught by thirst.” In Texas, a state that knows no bounds of economic ambition but is regularly disciplined by deep droughts, water is indeed taught by thirst. That is especially true in three big Texas cities that are globally significant innovators in water planning, technology, and use. Austin adopted a 100-year water plan in 2018 that essentially calls for conservation and recycling programs so advanced that the city anticipates supplying a healthy share…

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All droughts are not created equal

All droughts are not created equal

Texas is better prepared for drought now than it was in the 1990s; however, the state is less ready for a repeat of the drought of record—or worse—than it was 20 plus years ago. If that sounds counterintuitive, it’s because all droughts are not created equal. Before the mid-‘90s, two decades of cooler and wetter weather lulled Texas into complacency, turning the Dust Bowl and the Drought of the 1950s into hazy, distant memories. The drought of 1996 was an…

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Water, Texas: When it rains, Texas forgets drought and worsening water scarcity

Water, Texas: When it rains, Texas forgets drought and worsening water scarcity

Among the famed springs that distinguish the Texas Hill Country as a region of crystal-clear water and iconic swimming holes, Jacob’s Well stands out. The spring’s water source is rain that falls on the thin soils of Hays County and filters through porous limestone before filling a network of deep, ancient caves… When it’s wet in Hays County and the 16 other counties that form the Hill Country, Jacob’s Well pours about 900 gallons a minute into Cypress Creek, more…

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Conservation is essential to Texas’ future, and it’s time to get serious

Conservation is essential to Texas’ future, and it’s time to get serious

As we head into another hot Texas summer and ponder future summers in a warming climate, the imperative to sustain adequate water availability for our communities and support fish and wildlife habitat continues to grow. The just-released 2020 Water Conservation Scorecard addresses this concern head-on by offering an in-depth look at how effectively Texas water utilities are saving water. Since the release of the initial Scorecard in 2016, utilities have made some advances, but these new scores highlight that the…

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Accelerated drying increases potential wildfire ignitions statewide

Accelerated drying increases potential wildfire ignitions statewide

Significant wildfire activity has increased statewide, and accelerated drying has elevated the potential for new wildfire ignitions. New wildfires will become increasingly difficult to extinguish if current temperatures and drying conditions persist into August as forecasted. “Vegetation is rapidly losing moisture due to consecutive days of extremely high temperatures,” said Brad Smith, Texas A&M Forest Service Predictive Services Department Head. “Grass that was green five days ago has wilted and turned brown under the accelerated drying produced from the extreme…

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