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.

There’s something special about Texas rivers. But wasteful water use, coupled with drought, has lowered water levels in our rivers to near record lows. As a result, there’s barely enough water for drinking water, recreation and endangered 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 In many cases, the state has given permission for more water to be withdrawn from rivers than is actually available.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 water

Wasteful water use occurs across Texas and throughout the economy, imperiling Texas’ water supply. Agricultural, municipal and industrial water consumers withdraw more water from rivers and aquifers than is necessary to irrigate crops, maintain landscaping, and produce energy. At least 500 billion gallons of water are wasted each year, enough to meet the municipal water needs of 9 million Texans.

A chance for a new water future

In November, voters approved Proposition 6, authorizing the creation of a multi-billion dollar water infrastructure fund. This spring, regional and state water planners will decide how to spend that money. We’re urging planners to prioritize projects to cut water waste and protect our rivers.

Loans should go to farmers, businesses and cities to help upgrade agricultural irrigation equipment, install more efficient appliances, and repair leaking water mains. That means more water will be available to protect our treasured, and ailing, rivers like the Colorado, Guadalupe and the Trinity.

Together, we can save our rivers

Our staff has been knocking on doors across the state to educate Texans about what’s at stake. We’re also testifying in the Legislature, 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 legislators, signed petitions, spread the word to friends and family, and attended hearings at the Capitol. With your support, we can force the state’s biggest water wasters to start saving water and stop draining our rivers. If enough of us speak out, we can save Texas rivers. 

Click here to join the campaign.


Clean water updates


EPA Seeks to Clarify Federal Water Law

n 2007, when crude oil spilled into Edwards Creek, a seasonally flowing stream in Titus County, the Environmental Protection Agency did not step in to demand a cleanup.

But it wasn’t because it didn’t want to. The agency said at the time that though it believed the federal Clean Water Act gave it jurisdiction over the stream, that authority was too complex to prove.

In an effort to clarify the EPA’s authority in such cases, the federal agency, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, proposed a joint rule last week that would better define the scope of bodies of water protected under the Clean Water Act. If finalized by the federal Office of Management and Budget, the rule change could allow for increased government oversight of smaller bodies of water in Texas and across the nation, including intermittent streams like the one in Titus County.

“These streams flow into our great waterways," said Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas. "People don’t realize their importance.”

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Texas

EPA Proposes Biggest Step for Clean Water in a Decade

AUSTIN - Today, in the biggest step forward for clean water in more than a decade, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule to close loopholes in the Clean Water Act that leave 75% of Texas’ streams and millions of acres of wetlands at risk of unchecked pollution and development.

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News Release | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Water board backs environmentally destructive reservoir

AUSTIN – The Executive Administrator of the Texas Water Development Board today backed the Marvin Nichols reservoir against the wishes of the northeast communities where it would be built, in a proposed settlement of a dispute between two regional water groups. The proposed water project would wipe out 70,000 acres of rare forest and farmland in order to supply the Dallas/Fort Worth region. TWDB has been ordered by a judge to settle the dispute and today EA Kevin Patteson recommended that the reservoir stay in the State Water Plan. After receiving public comment, the board of TWDB will make a final decision.

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Combs' report: Fund water-saving ways

In a report highlighting the water woes and needs of Texas, the chief financial officer of the state called on Texas lawmakers to put forward millions of dollars in programs and a state prize to heighten innovation and conservation in water use.

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Report Says Plan's Water Supply Projects May Threaten Rivers

A new report by the Environment Texas Research and Policy Center advises the state to focus on conservation measures following the passage of Proposition 6 and to avoid water supply projects that could harm five Texas rivers, particularly the Trinity, Guadalupe and Sulphur.

> Keep Reading


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