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SAWS drops plan to secure state loan for Vista Ridge pipeline

The San Antonio Water System has decided not to apply for a low-interest state loan to finance part of its work on the Vista Ridge pipeline project. Many people following the proposed 142-mile water pipeline from Burleson County expected SAWS to file a full application for a $127 million loan from the Texas Water Development Board through the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas, or SWIFT, program. The loan would have financed construction and equipment to integrate the pipeline into…

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Water Conservation Is A Big Deal In Texas. How Did Your Utility Score?

Water conservation is a big deal in Texas. How did your utility score?

Texas has received high marks for our state’s laws and policies on water conservation. That positive recognition is deserved even though there is more the Lone Star State could do to advance conservation. But the real question is what’s happening “on the ground?” Are water utilities meeting the State’s legal requirements on conservation? Are these “municipal” water suppliers making their best efforts to reduce per capita water use, and thus save water and money for Texans? Those are the questions…

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Texas Water Development Board executive to head Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority

The top executive of the state agency in charge of water planning across Texas will step down to lead the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority. The GBRA’s board of directors approved Texas Water Development Board executive administrator Kevin Patteson to take over the job held by general manager W.E. “Bill” West Jr., on May 2. West said he will continue to work for the GBRA until September to help with the transition. “We’re going to work hard and we’re going to have…

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SAWS stores record amount of water, desal plant nears completion

The San Antonio Water System reached a milestone last week when it announced that their Aquifer Storage and Recovery Facility (ASR) in southern Bexar County reached a record 100,000 acre feet of water. "Nobody else is doing what we're doing,” ASR Plant Manager Robert Macias said. The state-of-the-art facility continues to surprise people in its ability to store water and now engineers believe it may be able to hold twice as much. It leads the country in that regard. As…

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The Q&A: Steve Young

With each issue, Trib+Water brings you an interview with experts on water-related issues. Here is this week's subject: Steve Young is a principal geoscientist at Intera, a geoscience and engineering consulting firm in Austin. Young focuses on groundwater issues and how to solve them. Trib+Water: There was an article in the San Antonio Express-News that said you were at a symposium asking if there is enough water to support Central Texas. Is there enough water to support Central Texas? Steve…

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Alcoa Inc. puts massive Texas land holdings, water rights on market for $250M

New York-based metals manufacturer Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) has put its Texas land holdings on the market for $250 million, which include a vast array of water rights that could be the biggest known water rights deal struck of its kind in the Lone Star state. The property — known as Sandow Lakes Ranch — totals nearly 33,800 acres of land that sits about 45 miles east of downtown Austin and, if sold, could be the biggest of its kind…

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Austin Mayor proclaims March 31st as Craig Smith Day in honor of HCA friend and long-time water quality advocate

In honor of Craig Smith’s tireless efforts to help initiate the Barton Springs Zone Regional Water Quality Protection Plan and lead the working group, the City of Austin has recognized the achievement that provided a framework for local governments to adopt standards premised on the belief that water quality is vital to every person, by appointing March 31st as Craig Smith Day. Congratulations Craig! In December 2002, Hays County Judge Jim Powers and Austin City Council Member Daryl Slusher convened…

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Council will leave pipeline deal changes to SAWS

The San Antonio Water System, not the City Council, will retain sole control over who will develop a massive water pipeline to eventually supply up to 20 percent of the city’s water. The issue came up in a Wednesday meeting of the San Antonio City Council’s governance committee seven weeks after District 8 Councilman Nirenberg filed a formal request for council members to vote on a plan to shift control of the project to a new investor. Nirenberg, Mayor Ivy…

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Mayor faces ethics complaint over pipeline, political contributions

A member of the Sierra Club’s Alamo Group has filed an ethics complaint against Mayor Ivy Taylor, alleging she inappropriately accepted campaign contributions from the owners of Pape-Dawson Engineers, who were involved in contract negotiations for the controversial Vista Ridge water pipeline. Gay Wright, a member of the group’s executive committee, filed the complaint Thursday alleging that Taylor violated the city’s ethics code by accepting contributions from political contributors who stand to gain financially from the Vista Ridge contract. The…

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Spain’s Abengoa SA Obtains Backing From Creditors To Evade Bankruptcy

Spanish energy company Abengoa SA (NASDAQ:ABGB) has obtained the support of about 75% of its lenders to reorganize its large debt and ask for additional time from the judiciary for negotiations targeted at preventing bankruptcy as per a document. The organization having a EUR9.4 billion ($10.5 billion) debt amount is in pre-solvency talks and would be Spain’s biggest ever bankruptcy if it doesn’t reach a compromise with lenders as well as bondholders. Abengoa has a deadline of March 28 to…

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