Leadership at all stages of the urban water cycle, including your home

Leadership at all stages of the urban water cycle, including your home

I learned in grade school that, in the water cycle, water evaporates from the ocean, condenses into clouds, falls as rain, runs into rivers, and flows back into the sea. However, we humans have intervened and significantly modified this natural cycle. In many of our cities, under standard operating procedures, we tend to: 1. pull the water from rivers, lakes or groundwater; treat it; use it; treat it again; and put it back in the river and 2. direct rainwater…

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Latino Rights Group, SAWS File Update in Long-Running Water Case

A national Latino rights advocacy group and San Antonio’s water utility submitted a filing this week in a long-quiet federal court case concerning whether Latinos are adequately represented in the entity that manages the Edwards Aquifer. It’s been six years since the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) sued the Edwards Aquifer Authority, arguing the structure of its board is unconstitutional because it gives unequal representation to the less-populated areas surrounding Bexar County. The authority’s structure disproportionally favors Anglo voters in these…

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Coke, Nestle Near Ownership of World’s Second Largest Aquifer

Coke, Nestle Near Ownership of World’s Second Largest Aquifer

A concerted push is underway in South America that could see one of the world’s largest reserves of fresh water soon fall into the hands of transnational corporations such as Coca-Cola and Nestle. According to reports, talks to privatize the Guarani Aquifer – a vast subterranean water reserve lying beneath Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay – have already reached an advanced stage. The deal would grant a consortium of U.S. and Europe-based conglomerates exclusive rights to the aquifer that would last…

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San Antonio’s Edwards Aquifer Protection Program: Overview and Analysis

San Antonio’s Edwards Aquifer Protection Program: Overview and Analysis

“The City of San Antonio’s Edwards Aquifer Protection Program utilizes land and conservation easement acquisitions to protect the quality and quantity of Edwards Aquifer recharge. Overall, the analysis concludes that the program has been well adapted to the city’s need to protect the recharge and contributing zones beyond its regulatory jurisdiction. As such, it may serve as a significant model for other cities, particularly in Texas, where regulations may face legal and cultural resistance.” Read more from Francine Sanders Romero and…

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Do Landowners Have Right to Protest Proposed Water Project?

Do Landowners Have Right to Protest Proposed Water Project?

An interesting legal question has arisen in Bastrop County recently that could have impacts on groundwater law and landowner rights across Texas. Background: In 2013, Recharge Water (formerly End Op) applied for a permit from the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District (GCD) to withdraw 56,000 acre-feet of water per year from the Simsboro formation of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in Bastrop and Lee Counties.  The company planned to export the water for sale in Hays, Travis, and Williamson Counties, although no…

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Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District cancels confirmation and board elections, citing funding concerns

Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District cancels confirmation and board elections, citing funding concerns

After a month and a half of planning and securing election funding on Tuesday from Travis County Commissioner’s Court,the temporary board for the Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District unexpectedly voted in a unanimous decision Friday afternoon to cancel the district’s confirmation and board elections. “The county offered to give us a loan for the election but we had no idea what the loan terms were, and really don’t have the data to be able to know when we would be…

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What can Nebraska teach the American West about managing water? A lot.

What can Nebraska teach the American West about managing water? A lot.

Nebraska is one of the top producers of corn, soybeans and hogs in the country. With 91 percent of the state’s total land area dedicated to agricultural production, a lot of water is needed to support all of Nebraska’s farms and ranches. Fortunately, the state sits atop one of the largest underground aquifers in the world. The High Plains Aquifer, commonly referred to as the Ogallala Aquifer, underlies parts of eight states from Texas to South Dakota, and is a…

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Cape Town Pushes Back ‘Day Zero’ as Residents Conserve Water

Cape Town Pushes Back ‘Day Zero’ as Residents Conserve Water

Cape Town residents have drastically lowered their water use, allowing their drought-plagued city to push back the dreaded “Day Zero,” when the system is expected to run dry, by more than 10 weeks. Just three weeks ago, officials were predicting that Cape Town would reach Day Zero — a first for a major city in modern times — in late April, forcing its four million residents to line up at collection points to receive water rations from trucks. Now, after…

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Commissioners debate the creation and funding of a groundwater conservation district in southwest Travis County

Commissioners debate the creation and funding of a groundwater conservation district in southwest Travis County

Commissioners recently debated over whether to hold an election to create and fund a conservation district that would regulate, protect and conserve the groundwater supply derived from the Trinity Aquifer, one of nine major aquifers in the state. In January 2017, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ, recommended to the 85th Legislature that a regulatory entity be created to protect an area over the Trinity Aquifer which is not covered by any groundwater conservation district. State Rep. Paul…

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Groundwater conservation district up and running

Groundwater conservation district up and running

With no funding, no staff and a board of temporary directors, the Southwestern Travis County Groundwater Conservation District is up and running. The body was created with the intent of monitoring and protecting the area’s supply of groundwater, but it must receive voter approval before it can fully perform its functions. State Rep. Paul Workman (R-Austin) tried to pass a bill in the last legislative session that would create a groundwater conservation district in the last portion of the Hill…

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