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Wastewater Threatens Texas Streams

Wastewater threatens Texas streams

Diane Causey is a 75-year-old antique shop manager in Utopia, a tiny town of 277 people located an hour-and-a-half northwest of San Antonio. Her favorite place in town is a swimming hole on the Sabinal River, accessed on land her family owns. This section of the Sabinal, a little-known Texas river fed by springs, is crystal-clear and chilly even in June. Each summer, Causey’s extended family of more than 100 people converge on the swimming hole for their annual family…

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Walkability And The Culture Wars

Walkability and the culture wars

An unfortunate recent article by Aaron Gordon for Vice is titled, "Walking Places Is Part of the Culture Wars Now." It's centered around a discussion of recent survey results from Pew Research, which appear to show that a majority of Americans prefer a neighborhood with larger homes and yards, but where driving is a must to get to schools, stores, and restaurants, versus a neighborhood where amenities are in walking distance, but the homes are smaller and closer together.  …

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EPA Recognizes Austin Water For Efforts To Restore Ecosystems

EPA recognizes Austin Water for efforts to restore ecosystems

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Austin Water in this year’s Outstanding Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development Competition. Austin Water’s Wildlands Conservation Division received First Place in the People’s Choice Category for a project that manages stormwater runoff in sensitive habitat areas in its Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. This work connects forest fragments, restores diverse native flora and fauna, and recharges karst features on critical conservation lands.   Read more in the press release from the City of…

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Boerne Mayor Bracing For Impact Of Approaching San Antonio Sprawl

Boerne mayor bracing for impact of approaching San Antonio sprawl

That continued explosive development northwest of San Antonio comes at a cost. And Boerne, a quaint town grappling with its own growing pains, could pay a steep price. “Candidly, most of the growth that’s going on is outside of the city limits of Boerne. There are no rules for what that looks like,” Boerne Mayor Tim Handren said. “I don’t know what it’s going to look like. That’s the bad thing."   Read more from the San Antonio Business Journal…

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Water Supply Contract Could Derail Dreams Of A Park At Honey Creek

Water supply contract could derail dreams of a park at Honey Creek

When Texas Parks and Wildlife commissioners gave their approval to turn a ranch upstream of Honey Creek into a public park rather than a controversial subdivision, opponents of the development rejoiced. But this week, many were learning more about a looming issue that could kill the park proposal in its early stages. David Holmes, a representative of landowners Ronnie and Terry Urbanczyk, met with neighbors and local officials Monday to detail how an existing contract to supply water for the…

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Scientists Seek Ways To Help Nature Safeguard Aquifer Amid Development

Scientists seek ways to help nature safeguard aquifer amid development

On a four-wheeler at the edge of the Hill Country, geologist Mark Hamilton rolls and bumps across a 151-acre property at the Edwards Aquifer Conservancy Field Research Park. He pulls up to the end of a steep hill and points out a sunken, marshy spot along the bottom. With several recently planted trees and bushes of native plants nearby, the spot is among many that Hamilton and his team have resculpted by hand.   Read more from Elena Bruess with…

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Texas Water Utilities Provide A Snapshot Of Financial Conditions And Prospects For Addressing Texas Water Infrastructure Needs In 2021 And 2022

Texas Water Utilities provide a snapshot of financial conditions and prospects for addressing Texas water infrastructure needs in 2021 and 2022

Recently, Water Opinions LLC teamed up with the Texas Water Infrastructure Network (TXWIN) for the second annual assessment of current and future Texas water infrastructure projects, financing, and other issues facing Texas water utilities. TXWIN distributed the survey to its members and recruited the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association, Texas Water Conservation Association, the Water Environment Association of Texas, the Texas Water Utilities Association, and the Texas Rural Water Association to distribute the survey to their members…

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Droughts Push More People To Migrate Than Floods

Droughts push more people to migrate than floods

After a year of extreme weather, people in the drylands of northern California and the hurricane-drenched bayous of southern Louisiana are brooding on the same question: should we leave? New global research suggests that one of these “water shock” scenarios is more likely to result in migration. World Bank researchers found that people are five times as likely to move following drought conditions as they are after floods or periods of excess water.   Read more from Brett Walton with…

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The Well Fixer’s Warning

The well fixer’s warning

The well fixer and I were standing at the edge of an almond orchard in the exhausted middle of California. It was late July, and so many wells on the farms of Madera County were coming up dry that he was running out of parts to fix them. In this latest round of western drought, desperate voices were calling him at six in the morning and again at midnight. They were puzzled why their pumps were coughing up sand, the…

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How Discharged Wastewater Is Feeding Massive Hill Country Algae Blooms

How discharged wastewater is feeding massive Hill Country algae blooms

Green mats coat what once were clear, scenic creeks and rivers, the result of algae blooms that are frustrating those who live in the Texas Hill Country. Effluent is wastewater with its pollutants removed, also known as treated wastewater. When effluent is discharged into creeks in the Hill Country, they experience massive algae blooms, specifically a type called Cladophora glomerata, which attaches to creek beds instead of floating on top of the water like the blue-green algae found in Lady…

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