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Aquifer District Director Precincts Extended to Annexed Area

New Director precinct boundaries that extend representation into the Shared Territory annexed in response to House Bill 3405 were finalized at the May 26, 2016 Board meeting after extensive research, a public hearing, consideration of numerous public comments, and Board deliberation. The five District Board of Director precincts were redistricted to bring representation into the shared territory in Hays County and group communities of interests and their common sources of water supply.  Very generally, there are two City of Austin…

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Lawyers Say Ruling Bad For Landowners

Lawyers Say Ruling Bad For Landowners

Agriculture and landowner groups recently heralded a Texas Supreme Court ruling favoring a South Plains ranch as a major win for private property rights, but some lawyers and conservationists are painting the decision as more of a win for developers and water marketers. The unanimous ruling, issued last Friday, expanded a 45-year-old tenet of oil and gas law that enables "surface" landowners who don't own the minerals beneath their property to force drillers to accommodate their existing use of the…

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Understanding Water Risks Drives Global Investors

Just like homeowners who do not think twice about water supply when they turn on the tap, financial advisors considering investing in companies or new products took water for granted. The same went for governments and multi-lateral finance institutions, like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, when they considered loans to build dams, power plants, and mines. That was before the world’s population and demand for water soared. It was before climate change disrupted previously stable cycles of…

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Unplugging the Colorado River

WEDGED between Arizona and Utah, less than 20 miles upriver from the Grand Canyon, a soaring concrete wall nearly the height of two football fields blocks the flow of the Colorado River. There, at Glen Canyon Dam, the river is turned back on itself, drowning more than 200 miles of plasma-red gorges and replacing the Colorado’s free-spirited rapids with an immense lake of flat, still water called Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reserve. When Glen Canyon Dam was built in…

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Brimming Wastewater Ponds Must Be Lowered To Avoid ‘catastrophic Failure’

Brimming wastewater ponds must be lowered to avoid ‘catastrophic failure’

It seems most bodies of water in Travis County are filled to the brim, including wastewater ponds. The West Travis County Public Utility Agency has two full wastewater holding ponds, resulting from ongoing heavy rains. The utility must lower the water levels in those ponds to avoid overflow, said General Manager Don Rauschuber. The utility will release about 2 million gallons from the two ponds. This is the second “controlled treated effluent spill” by the utility this week. “The ponds are…

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Study foretold Abengoa woes

Calvin Finch hates to say, “I told you so.” But he feels he should anyway. “Yeah,” Finch said, “and I’m disappointed that I can.” This week, the San Antonio Water System’s board of trustees voted to allow a Kansas City firm to take over the utility’s largest-ever pipeline project, a dramatic turn of events linked to the financial troubles of a firm first enlisted to build the 142-mile pipeline. Last year — months before Abengoa SA, a Spanish firm, fell…

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Austin Water Pipe Leaks Could Fill Lady Bird Lake Twice, In 2015

Austin water pipe leaks could fill Lady Bird Lake twice, in 2015

For three years running, Austin Water Utility has posted an increase in the amount of water leaked from city pipes, and utility officials have not pinpointed exactly why. The city’s latest water loss report shows more than 5.8 billion gallons of treated drinking water seeped from city pipes before reaching customers in 2015—a 23 percent increase over the previous year, according to annual water loss audits submitted to the Texas Water Development Board. “We have not identified or pinpointed why…

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With State Population Growing, Texas Water Board Eyes New Water Plan

With state population growing, Texas water board eyes new water plan

The Texas Water Development Board recently approved the state’s newest water plan, basically a road map for how the state will meet its water demands over the next half-century amid a steady growth in population. The population boom is expected to be especially acute in the Colorado River basin, home to Austin and Travis County, as well as parts or all of Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Fayette, Hays and Williamson counties — some of the fastest-growing areas of the country. Population…

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The Texas Water Development Board adopts 2017 State Water Plan

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) today unanimously voted to adopt the 2017 State Water Plan. “The new state water plan projects that Texas’ population will increase more than 70 percent by the year 2070,” said TWDB Board Chairman Bech Bruun, “and the 2017 State Water Plan is our most comprehensive effort to date to ensure we adequately address the water needs of our growing population. The plan contains more than 5,500 strategies that help us conserve the water we…

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The Texas Water Development Board names Jeff Walker as executive administrator

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) today named Jeff Walker as the new executive administrator. He will begin his service as executive administrator today. Walker currently serves as the deputy executive administrator of Water Supply and Infrastructure. His areas of responsibility include state water planning, project development, financial assistance, project funds disbursement, water use and population projections, and facility needs assessment. He has served in various positions at the TWDB for more than 25 years, including as director of Project…

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