Archive for posts tagged ‘Texas’

Water Infrastructure Bill Could Upend Texas’ Water Planning Process

The water infrastructure bills that the legislature passed last session – and that have to be approved by voters under Proposition 6 in the November 5 special election to take full effect – have received a lot of press coverage, with most attention being given to the jaw-dropping sums of money involved. As with all estimates – particularly complex ones that peer far into… Full Story

Water Supply and System Loss in Texas

KVUE reported last week that the City of Austin lost 3 billion gallons of water to leaky or broken pipes in 2012 and another 4 billion in 2011 – at the very time Texas was contending with its worst single-year drought on record. The station quoted a city spokesperson as saying that Austin has hundreds of miles… Full Story

Planning Organizations Could Manage Regional PACE Programs

Texas Governor Rick Perry recently signed new PACE enabling legislation into law.  S.B. 385 overhauls existing statutes that authorized PACE in Texas but never gave rise to any actual PACE programs. Municipalities and counties can now enter into PACE contractual assessments for water and energy efficiency improvements with owners of real property.  (For more background on PACE… Full Story

TCEQ Could Provide Water by Declining to Enforce Senior Rights

A state district court judge recently invalidated a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) rule allowing the agency, during droughts or other emergency water shortages, to enforce senior water rights by suspending junior water rights.  The rub was that the agency could, in the process, exempt preferred junior water rights holders such as municipalities and electric… Full Story

Oklahoma Wins SCOTUS Red River Case

The Supreme Court ruled last week against a North Texas water district in a dispute with Oklahoma over water in the Red River basin.  In Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) v. Herrmann, the Court held that Texas did not have a right under the Red River Compact to divert water from within Oklahoma. In 2007, the… Full Story

“Interregional Conflicts” in Texas Water Planning

Since its release, the 2012 State Water Plan (SWP) has served as a blueprint for Texas water planning and a call-to-arms for lawmakers intent on increasing infrastructure funding.  But a recent state appellate court decision highlights the flaws inherent in the SWP and weakens its position as a foundation for future water policy. The SWP… Full Story

Texas’ Changing Relationship with Water

Austin journalist (and full disclosure: Energy Center friend) Ari Phillips recently published a fantastic investigative piece in Texas Climate News on groundwater depletion in Central Texas.  Among the highlights: Insulation from Drought:  Ari notes that during the 1950s drought – the worst on record, as many new stories about the current drought have reminded – “most Texans… Full Story

Texas Considers Benefit Corporations

A bill stalled out in the Texas legislature last week that would have permitted a new type of corporate organization intended to promote social entrepreneurship.  Introduced by state Rep. Stephanie Carter, H.B. 2565 – on the ropes for now, always capable of coming back – would have let Texas businesses operate as “benefit corporations.” Spread of Benefit Corporations… Full Story

Red River Compact Arguments Favor Oklahoma

The Supreme Court held oral arguments this week in the dispute between the Tarrant Regional Water District (Tarrant) and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) over rights to water in the Red River basin.  (For a transcript, click here.  For an audio stream, click here.) The Supreme Court press corps has dubbed the arguments inconclusive.  And the justices at times… Full Story

Water Protectionism Hurts the Economies of Fast-Growing Regions

The Supreme Court will hear arguments today in a water rights dispute between Oklahoma and a Fort Worth water district.  The outcome will determine the degree to which markets may be used to allocate water and address the impacts of droughts like the one now plaguing much of the country. In 1978, Texas and Oklahoma… Full Story