February 28 2012

Groundwater ruling potentially unleashes geyser of future cases

Prompted by the severity of the current drought, Texans have been earnestly discussing how to manage the state’s water resources for the next several decades to meet the needs of a growing population and dynamic economy. This necessary discussion must now consider last week’s ruling on property rights and groundwater by the Texas Supreme Court and how it potentially threatens efforts to regulate and conserve aquifers. The court unanimously ruled Friday that property owners own the water beneath their land just as surely as they own the oil and gas. Read more from Statesman.com.

February 24, 2012

Texas Supreme Court Rules For Landowners in Water Case

In a case with potentially vast implications for groundwater rules in Texas, the Texas Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in favor of two farmers in the San Antonio area who challenged the local aquifer authority’s sharp restrictions on their use of a water well on their land. Read more from Texas Tribune.Background on groundwater rights here.

February 24, 2012

Aquifer District Eases, Doesn’t Remove Drought Restrictions

The Board of Directors of the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District eased drought restrictions from Stage III Critical Drought to Stage II Alarm at its Board meeting this evening, effective immediately. With above average rainfall this winter, soils reached saturation and runoff created enough creek flow to contribute some recharge to the aquifer. Read more from BSEACD.

February 19, 2012

Understanding your Remarkable Riparian Areas

The Capital Area Erosion Control Network hosts HCA President Sky Lewey for one of her “Remarkable Riparian” programs. “Creeks, Rivers and Riparian areas are special and they are often misunderstood.” This event is free and open to the public this Thursday, February 23rd, at 11:30 in Austin. Details

February 17, 2012

Texas Drought Sparks Water Well Drilling Frenzy

As the most intense drought in state history drags on, plenty of Texans are waiting for months to have such wells drilled, fearful that their municipalities could impose stricter limits on water use. But this increased demand is causing concerns that groundwater in some places will start drying up, and regulators are working on rules to maintain certain groundwater levels. Read full Texas Tribune Article.

Vulnerable to climate disruption, Lubbock seeks a sustainable water supply

For decades, the city drew most of its water from Lake Meredith…But Lake Meredith has fallen to historically low levels. “This year, for the first time in 40 years, it’s gone.” Read more from Texas Climate News.

February 16, 2012

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs Stresses Importance of Water Management for State’s Prosperity

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs released today The Impact of the 2011 Drought and Beyond – an analysis of the effects of the severe 2011 drought in Texas, current and future water resources in the state and innovative solutions being used in Texas and elsewhere in the Southwest to solve the water crisis. “Planning and managing water use will be of utmost importance for the state’s growth and prosperity,” Combs said. “While recent rains have helped put a dent in drought severity in different parts of the state, we’re not out of the woods. Texas is prone to cycles of drought which makes it important for residents, businesses and state and local governments to manage water use. Every Texan has a stake in water issues the state faces.” Read the Impact of the 2011 Drought and Beyond online.

February 13, 2012

Water experts assess aftermath of drought during University of Texas forum

Power generation, drinking water availability, agriculture, reservoirs and aquifers have all been threatened at best and decimated at worst by the state’s current drought that has now spilled into a second year, water specialists speaking at the University of Texas said Monday. Read full Statesman.com article.

February 6, 2012

Killing Cane, Learning from Large-Scale Conservation on the Nueces River

HCA President, Sky Lewey is featured in this great article published by the Environmental Law Institute. “The Nueces River Authority has engaged over 200 landowners in removing an invasive species from some 60 miles of the Nueces River”. For more than 30 years, the National Wetlands Newsletter has been the definitive source for accurate, in-depth coverage of wetland law, policy, science, and management. To learn more about the Newsletter or to subscribe, please visit http://www.wetlandsnewsletter.org

Do more soon to preserve our waters

It’s official. According to the National Climatic Data Center, the year 2011 was the driest on record. The average total rainfall across the state was 14.88 inches, beating the previous record low of 14.99 inches established in 1917. Now, more than ever, is the time for each of us to take an active role in water conservation in order to extend our existing water supplies. Without waiting for plans and finances or rains to catch up, there are ways to increase your water supply today. Read full Statesman.com commentary by HCA’s Milan Michalec.

First ever study of the US Rainwater Harvesting market has been released

The study took over a year to complete and is a survey of vendors in the rainwater harvesting market. Learn More from HarvestH20.com.

February 4, 2012

Protecting water in Texas: a promise kept or broken?

Fifty years ago, Texas experienced the drought of record — which simply means the worst drought we had ever seen. Following that drought, big thinkers made big decisions. They invested in infrastructure to expand existing surface water supplies, cultivate unexplored groundwater supplies, and store and conserve more water. The investments of the 1950s have gotten us this far, but won’t carry us much further. Read more from Statesman.com.

February 1, 2012

Travis County passed new rules to protect water resources

After months of vetting by a diverse volunteer stakeholder committee made up of scientists, developer interests, landowners, residents and groundwater planning professionals Travis County Commissioners unanimously passed recommended new subdivision rules dealing with water use. “Already built or planned subdivisions and those with five or fewer lots that use surface water or have a rainwater collection system to back up groundwater would be exempt from the rules.” Read a brief from the Austin American Statesman that includes a link to the feature article from earlier this week here. Read Travis County staff summary to the Court here.