Archive for posts tagged ‘water’

Edwards Aquifer and Desalination

Texas groundwater districts are grappling with the difficult task of meeting mounting demands and preserving long-term supplies even as the recent Bragg decision has cast uncertainty over their regulatory authority. With luck, emerging strategies could help to reduce water usage and expand potential sources.  Earlier this year, the legislature passed a bill to promote research that could make two particular strategies… Full Story

Managing Texas Ground Water: More Difficult than Ever?

Managing the use of ground water in Texas has never been easy.  But a recent string of cases, now topped off by a stunning Court of Appeals opinion in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Bragg, will make it much more difficult to conserve this vital resource for current and future users and to protect the spring… Full Story

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

BLM Fracking Rules and Water Supply

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) currently regulates hydraulic fracturing (fracturing) through a rule that was adopted three decades ago and last revised in 1988.  43 C.F.R. § 3160.  Because of its age, the existing rule does not account for the risks or opportunities that have resulted from innovations in horizontal drilling and fracturing technology…. 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

Congressional Research Service on Drought

Though there has recently been heavy flooding in the Upper Mississippi, almost two-thirds of the country – including Texas — remains in a drought or abnormally dry.  Against this backdrop, the Congressional Research Service this week released a report on drought causes, patterns and policy responses.  Among the observations: Climactic Conditions Future Conditions Likely to be Drier:  Modeling suggests the… Full Story