At stake: the lifeblood of Texas

Canoeing the Colorado on a hot summer afternoon. Watching turtles in the Comal. Rope swinging into the cool waters of the Guadalupe.

Our rivers are a big part of what makes living in Texas great. But even after a record drought, big developers and dirty energy companies keep on wasting water. As a result, there’s barely enough water for recreation and wildlife, from fish to Whooping Cranes.

One of the worst droughts in history

2011 was the worst single-year drought ever and we’ve seen little improvement since. In August, river water levels were less than 25 percent of normal and multiple rivers were at record lows. Lower water levels hurt habitat, threaten wildlife, strain drinking water supplies, and disrupt outdoor recreational activities.

Unfortunately, the state’s proposed plan for satisfying future water demand favors increased water withdrawals that could further harm our rivers. In many cases, the state has given permission for more water to be withdrawn from rivers than is actually available.

We have the technology to save 500 billion gallons

Many proven technologies can improve the efficiency of water use. Implementing more efficient irrigation technologies in agriculture, increasing the use of drought-tolerant plants and rainwater harvesting in landscaping, repairing leaking municipal water mains and other conservation efforts could save 500 billion gallons of water a year, enough to meet the needs of 9 million Texans.

Our chance to save our rivers

We all have to do our part to conserve and save our rivers. Fortunately, thanks to a new law we helped pass, Texas officials are required to double our investment in water conservation. But instead of conserving water, some dirty energy companies and developers are lobbying Texas officials to let them drain more water from our rivers.

Together, we can win

Our staff has been knocking on doors across the state to educate Texans about what’s at stake. We’re also meeting with state officials, researching water conservation solutions, and shining a spotlight in the media on the need to keep our rivers full and flowing with water.

But the real key to winning this fight is you. Across the state, thousands of our supporters have called or emailed state officials, signed petitions and spread the word to friends and family. With your support, we can let state officials know we’re serious about saving water and protecting our rivers.

If enough of us speak out, we can save Texas rivers.

 

 

Clean water updates

Headline

Flow Chart

Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting Texas’ rivers, forest area, and wildlife, said the TWDB held a two-month comment period that ended with an April 29 hearing in Arlington, where there was overwhelming opposition to the project.

“There is really strong bipartisan opposition coming from Tea Party Republicans, the timber industry, local landowners, and the general public,” he said.

He estimated that “99.5 percent of the comments were opposed to the project.”

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Headline

State Water Fund rules a big deal

As TWDB develops the rules and priorities for use of the new water funds, it's critical that they pursue a balanced solution that improves the efficiency of water use and leaves more water in our rivers and aquifers to support the ecosystems that depend on water.

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Blog Post

Rules governing new water infrastructure fund are out | Luke Metzger

The Texas Water Development Board has released the proposed rules governing new state water infrastructure funds (know as SWIFT and SWIRFT) that will fund billions of dollars of water projects across the state. These rules are expected to be published by the Texas Register around July 10th which will start the formal public comment period, expected to end September 1st. For a copy of the draft rules, click here. This summer the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) will hold three public hearings across Texas to receive feedback about these proposed rules. Ashley, our legal intern, addressed the TWDB last week and provided the first of many comments about the draft rules:

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News Release | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Over 16 Million Pounds of Toxic Chemicals Dumped into Texas’ Waterways

AUSTIN--Industrial facilities dumped more than 16 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Texas’ waterways, making Texas’ waterways the 2nd worst in the nation, according to a new report by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center.  The Wasting Our Waters report comes as the Environmental Protection Agency considers a new rule to restore Clean Water Act protections to thousands of waterways in Texas and across the nation.

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Report | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Wasting Our Waterways

Industrial facilities continue to dump millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s rivers, streams, lakes and ocean waters each year – threatening both the environment and human health. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), toxic discharges from industrial facilities are responsible for polluting more than 17,000 miles of rivers and about 210,000 acres of lakes, ponds and estuaries nationwide.

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