Posts by Jeremy Brown

Jeremy Brown is a research fellow at the Energy Center. His current work focuses water management and environmental finance. He previously practiced energy and environmental law at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

A Sibling Rivalry: Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation

In the mid-1970s, the United States adopted its first significant policies aimed at meeting energy needs by reducing demand rather than increasing supply.  So began the energy efficiency movement. Despite the many similarities between the energy and water sectors, a decade passed before the country started to manage the demand side of water.  And so... Full Story

TWDB Proposes Method for Solving Ward Timber Conflict

Last  year, a Texas appellate court raised doubts about the certainty and reliability of the state’s water planning process when it found that two key planning documents impermissibly conflicted with each other. This week, staff for the state agency that oversees water planning – the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) – submitted a memo to... Full Story

Texas’ Increasing Reliance on Conservation

While the threat of water scarcity has always been present, Texas but did not begin water planning at the state level until 1957.  At that time, as part of the policy response to the 1950s drought of record, voters approved a constitutional amendment creating the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), which was given a mission... Full Story

Conservation by Region: A Texas Perspective

In Texas, there is tremendous variation from one region to the next in current water conservation practices and in long-term water conservation goals. For planning purposes, the state is divided into 16 regional water planning groups (RWPGs).  The two RWPGS that the 2012 State Water Plan (SWP) recommends the greatest percentage of their increased future... Full Story

SAWS Application for Bed-and-Banks Permit Highlights Tension in Having Dual Surface Water and Groundwater Regimes

The San Antonio Water System (SAWS) has developed a creative legal strategy for improving the ecology of the San Antonio River and San Antonio Bay: indirectly reusing groundwater-derived effluent not by re-diverting for municipal uses but by running it down to the coast as an  an instream flow. This strategy – which still requires Texas... Full Story

Funding the State Water Plan: Proposition 6 and the Imprecision of Water Management “Strategies”

Last month, almost a year after Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst first proposed tapping Texas’ Rainy Day Fund to pay for water projects, voters approved Proposition 6, creating a new $2 billion infrastructure bank. News accounts, op-eds, and political speeches hashed over the pros (and to a lesser extent the cons) of Proposition 6 but did... Full Story

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Considers Water Scarcity

This year, as state officeholders – and later voters – considered a new funding program for water infrastructure, supporters of the measure warned of the economic consequences that Texas would incur if it failed to act.  Several unsettling figures were plucked from the State Water Plan (SWP) and repeated far and wide. In a report... Full Story

Proposition 6 and Local Debt Levels in Texas

We recently blogged about a Columbia University study showing that there is a correlation between rising water rates and utility debt levels.  The study found, by way of recap, that utilities across the country have increased water rates to pay off new infrastructure, and – somewhat unexpectedly – the higher rates depressed the demand for... Full Story