Q&A+water: Katherine Romans

Q&A+water: Katherine Romans

Executive Director of the Hill Country Alliance In this issue’s Q&A, Texas+Water Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Todd Votteler, interviews Katherine Romans, Executive Director of the Hill Country Alliance, a regional nonprofit focused on protecting the water, land, communities and night skies of the Texas Hill Country. She has more than a decade of nonprofit and legislative experience in natural resource issues and holds a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Romans serves on the board…

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San Antonio’s challenge: Protect the aquifer and get real with VIA Funding

San Antonio’s challenge: Protect the aquifer and get real with VIA Funding

San Antonio’s efforts to increase funding for VIA Metropolitan Service to give citizens a better mass transit system suffered a significant setback last week and left mobility advocates uncertain of the road ahead. The ConnectSA initiative right now is a plan without funding, and VIA’s historic underfunding compared to other Texas metro areas leaves it with ambitious plans that it cannot execute. At least $1.3 billion is needed to fund the 25 projects by 2025 recommended in the ConnectSA plan.…

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One Water: Projects In Motion

One Water: Projects In Motion

Ian Taylor, Chief Executive Officer at New Braunfels Utilities, knows his city is growing, fast. And that with that growth means looking at new ideas to manage resources. “I really struggled with [One Water] because … it was just kind of this out there concept,” Taylor explained at the Texas Water Symposium held on November 21, 2019 in San Marcos. “I had trouble trying to figure out how to nail it down and figure out how you apply this thing.…

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Gov. Abbott issues emergency proclamation for 53 counties suffering from drought

Gov. Abbott issues emergency proclamation for 53 counties suffering from drought

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an emergency proclamation for exceptional drought conditions posing a threat of imminent disaster in 53 counties. Significantly low rainfall and prolonged dry conditions continue to increase the threat of wildfire throughout the impacted counties, the declaration states, posing an imminent threat to public health, property, and the economy. Under Texas State Code, issuing a state of disaster authorizes the use of all available resources of state government and of political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope…

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Mysterious creatures: Exploring the depths of our karst aquifers

Mysterious creatures: Exploring the depths of our karst aquifers

“These ecosystems harbor some really amazing species,” said Dr. Ben Hutchins at the most recent Texas Water Symposium forum on Wednesday, November 13 at Schreiner University in Kerrville. Referencing the plethora of creatures that reside within Texas’ karst aquifers, Hutchins continued, “A lot of these are crustaceans; you may be familiar with shrimp, but relatively few people have seen a Texas Blind Cave Shrimp. These species occur sometimes at great depths. We have records from close to 2,000 feet under…

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Former Boy Scout camp will become next Hill Country swimming hole after Tuesday vote

Former Boy Scout camp will become next Hill Country swimming hole after Tuesday vote

Hays County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday morning to put up about half the money to buy a portion of the former El Rancho Cima Boy Scout camp along the Blanco River. The Nature Conservancy pledged the other half of the $13 million price tag in a bid to acquire the 536-acre plot to turn the plot into a reservation-based recreation and swimming area, similar to Hamilton Pool or Jacob’s Well (another partnership between the county and the Conservancy). The conservation…

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Nirenberg calls for shifting sales tax to VIA Transit, away from Aquifer Protection

Nirenberg calls for shifting sales tax to VIA Transit, away from Aquifer Protection

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg joined other local leaders this week in calling for  a one-eighth-cent sales tax to be redirected towards funding mass transit – and away from popular water quality protection and trailway programs. Voters would need to approve the new appropriation of the existing tax, and City Council’s OK is is required to set the ballot language for the November 2020 election. The Advanced Transportation District board, comprising VIA Metropolitan Transit board members, would first call for…

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Why frackers are using sewage to collect oil and gas

Why frackers are using sewage to collect oil and gas

America’s oil industry faces a number of challenges, including low oil prices, the rise of electric vehicles and proposals to limit fracking. But one of its biggest problems: The industry is running out of water. The US oil boom is being driven mostly by the growth of fracking — injecting water into shale formations to free up deposits of oil and natural gas that were never economically accessible before. But much of that oil and natural gas is found in…

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Update: Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District passes with almost 75% of the vote

Update: Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District passes with almost 75% of the vote

Update: The Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District passed unofficially with 74.78% of the vote, or 9,715 in favor to 3,276 opposed. Included on the ballot were all seven members of the newly elected board of directors: Juli Hennings, Jim Urie, Tricia Davis, James Dower, Tim Van Ackeren and Rick Scadden, board president. “It’s wonderful that 75% of the voters support confirmation of the SWTCGCD,” Scadden said in a text. “This represents the culmination of many years of hard work…

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Texas voters approve state income tax ban, most other constitutional amendments

Texas voters approve state income tax ban, most other constitutional amendments

Amendments to the state constitution that would make it harder to enact a state income tax, would stabilize funding for state parks and would allow retired law enforcement animals to be adopted by their handlers received widespread support from voters Tuesday. Supporters of one of the most contentious issues on the ballot — Proposition 4 — proclaimed victory within hours of the polls closing, with about three-fourths of voters supporting the proposal in early voting returns. The proposition authored by…

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