December 17, 2012

Meeting Texas’ water needs

Local and regional water suppliers say that state financial assistance is needed to fund about half of the total $53 billion price tag for water infrastructure projects in the current State Water Plan. However, simply providing funding without improving the plan and carefully prioritizing projects to be funded would not be an efficient use of taxpayer funds. More from

Behind the scary water headlines

It’s hard to look at any media in Texas today without being confronted by a dire outlook on the state’s water future. The jarring effects of a deep drought and the steep price tag attached to the state’s water plan definitely make for attention-grabbing copy. But for those who care about sustainable management of our limited water resources, property rights and fiscal discipline in the state budget, it’s worth a look behind those headlines. More from

December 13, 2012

Town to receive Night Skies lights

As our nation becomes more urbanized and as land ownership in rural areas becomes more fragmented, the problem of light pollution and the “disappearing stars” is receiving increasing attention. The Hill Country Alliance (HCA) has received $15,000 in grant funding from the Coypu Foundation to help the City of Junction and Kimble County to address this problem. Learn More

December 12, 2012

In Central Texas, a rush to secure water rights

Amid a persistent drought that has rattled Texans about water supplies, cities and investors are jockeying to purchase millions of gallons of underground water and pipe it to rapidly growing communities. More from

Blanco Chamber initiates night sky-friendly business recognition program

The Blanco Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Hill Country Alliance, this week announced the implementation of a Night Sky-Friendly Business Recognition Program. The voluntary program gives public acknowledgement to Blanco area businesses that have outdoor lighting that neither shines up into Blanco’s nighttime skies to create light pollution nor causes excessive glare that prevents others from enjoying the starry nights. Learn More

Myths about our Creeks and Rivers

Myths and misperceptions creep into every area of life, including our beliefs about creeks and rivers. Seven common myths starting with “Floods are Bad”, have been identified, which perpetuate misunderstanding of important riparian truths. Read Steve Nelle’s Riparian Notes for December 2012.

New HD View of Earth at Night

New HD images from space capture the use of artificial light in the United States and patterns of population density. NASA calls them the most detailed images yet. See images here. Learn about reducing sky glow here.

December 9, 2012

Water Conservation Matters – even with no drought

What Mike says to San Angelo can apply throughout the Hill Country, “If San Angelo and the region are to continue to survive and prosper economically and if Texas is to be sustainable with its limited water resources, then residents must learn to conserve water all the time — not just in drought situations.” Full Story

Everyone lives in a Watershed – Find out what’s happening along the Llano

At HCA, we prefer the term “Water Catchment Area”. Many great water catchment area planning projects are in the works around the Hill Country. The Upper Llano partnership includes residents in Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Menard, Real, and Sutton counties who recognize their “obligation to future generations to maintain the health of the Upper Llano Watershed. Read more about this project here. Find out more about Water Catchment Areas from HCA here.

December 4, 2012

Wimberley considers wastewater discharge

The Wimberley City Council is hosting a meeting Wednesday, December 5th at 6 pm to consider public input about wastewater discharge into Deer Creek. Wimberley creeks flow to the Blanco, which recharges the Edwards Aquifer. Infrastructure decisions about water and roads have long term consequences. Healthy natural resources, flowing clean waters and scenic beauty are all essential components of the Wimberley economy. Helpful resources about water quality in the Hill Country including other debated discharge permits can be found here. Read the full notice and details about Wednesday’s meeting here.

December 3, 2012

You & the State water Plan – Water For Texas 2012

Milan Michalec, incoming President of the HCA Board of Directors, takes a look at water issues ahead of the 2013 legislative session. “Ground and surface water supplies originate with the rain that falls on the land and in turn, this water is captured by complex, large-scale ecological processes involving many variables, including plants, animals, soils and geology. We are every bit an integral part of the water cycle.” Read the four-part series which will also be published in the Bandera County Courier beginning Thursday, December 6th.

Students map spills over recharge zone

A new interactive map created by students at Texas State University shows where sewer line breaks and overflows have dumped sewage over the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer in Bexar County since 2004. More from SA Express-News.

“End of Wind?”

Statesman headline 12.2.2012 reads “End of Wind? Some say industry will fade if federal tax credit vanishes in fiscal cliff deal”….. “The state has made a large investment in building transmission lines, which will become operational over the next two years, to bring more of the West Texas wind to the power-hungry parts of the state, including Central Texas. In the future, ratepayers will see a surcharge of $5 or so on their monthly bills to pay the almost $7 billion invested in those transmission lines.” Read more here. Retrace the ongoing issue of transmission lines through the heart of the hill country here.

How many drops does Medina Lake have left?

With the lake now below 11 percent of its estimated storage capacity, each exposed post and trunk raise the threat that local residents will run out of water, farmers will have to let land go fallow and San Antonio will lose part of its water supply. More from SA Express-News.