Texas agency releases water report examining effects of water challenges and solutions

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POSTED: Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 11:58am

UPDATED: Friday, January 17, 2014 - 7:59am

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs today released a report examining the effects of the water challenges facing our state, and offering up several recommendations to the Legislature which can enable us to stretch our existing supplies further.

The recommendations are laid out in the Comptroller’s new report, Texas Water Report: Going Deeper For The Solution, which revisits the effects of recent drought conditions, examines research-driven approaches for augmenting Texas’ water supply and proposes practical answers for the state’s growing thirst.

“Texas has been prone to cycles of drought for centuries, and there is no reason to expect that basic pattern to change,” Combs said. “Yet our state has changed, and its booming population and economy are creating an increasingly unquenchable demand for water.”

The report, which can be found below or at http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/water/, also explains the $2 billion in new funding for water projects approved Nov. 5 by voters in a constitutional amendment. Combs said Texans’ approval of Proposition 6 is a positive step toward assuring our water supplies — but additional innovative strategies are needed.

“Like the new approaches in Texas energy production, we need a revolution in water technology,” Combs said. “We need a breakthrough in this field, and some of our state funding should be used for innovative technologies which increase conservation.”

In the report, Combs recommends that the Texas Legislature establish a prize framework to reward those who develop proven new, cheap sources of drinking water. In order to continue to support its rapidly growing population, the report concludes, Texas must find cost-effective supplements to its reservoirs and aquifers.

“The state took a big step forward in addressing our future water needs by creating and funding Proposition 6,” said Jim Sartwelle III, public policy director of the Texas Farm Bureau. “However, we still face challenges Proposition 6 will not address. This report identifies those challenges and possible solutions. Policy makers should definitely pay attention to this report.”
Combs also recommends the Texas Legislature do the following:

  • Establish a program providing grants to water authorities and major water users that achieves meaningful and verifiable increases in water efficiency due to conservation activities. This program would award grants to local water authorities, including, but not limited to, cities, counties, river authorities, water conservation districts and municipal utility districts.
  • Increase state funding for innovative projects modeling new technology to help planners make more informed decisions about water usage.

“Although we tend to point to the historic drought as a singular cause for our water problems today, we’re not blameless,” Texas State Senator Robert Duncan said. “Moreover, there exists no single silver bullet solution. To make matters more complicated, Texas is so geographically and meteorologically diverse, that what may work in one part of the state would be ineffective in another. That is why it is so critical that the Legislature continue to promote conservation and innovation for municipal, industrial, and agricultural water uses.”
 

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Water Report.pdf6.73 MB

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