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.

Drought: Always a Disaster, Never a Presidentially Declared One

In May, the Senate passed the Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014 (S. 2198), a bill directing various federal agencies to provide California with additional water supplies during its current drought. The version of the bill originally introduced included a title that would have amended the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act,… Full Story

How Chile Might Leave the “Chilean Model” Behind: President Bachelet’s Proposal to Reform the Country’s Famously Laissez-Faire Water Laws

Earlier this month, the Energy Center hosted a conference in Santiago on emerging trends in the use of international arbitration to resolve energy disputes in Latin America.  Naturally, it was the sort of occasion that inspired a comparative law perspective. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who assumed office in March 2014 (after having served a previous… Full Story

Dammed If You Do and Dammed If You Don’t: Austin’s New Rate Structure and the Inevitability of Higher Water Costs

This month, the Joint Committee on Austin Water Utility’s Financial Plan (Joint Committee) finalized recommendations to the Austin City Council for reforms to the utility’s rate structure.  The local media have reported the Committee recommendations will ultimately lead to higher rates, to make up for revenue shortfalls that have resulted from improved conservation and drought… Full Story

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