January 26, 2009

San Antonio Water System’s hopes evaporating

“The Colorado River may be drying up as a potential source of drinking water for San Antonio,” writes Jerry Needham for the San Antonio Express-News. “The San Antonio Water System is spending millions of dollars looking into bringing Colorado River water to the Alamo City, but scientific studies, and now maybe policy decisions by the board that oversees the river, continue to shrink the amount of water available and cause the estimated costs to skyrocket.” Read the full Express-News story here.

January 22, 2009

Lawmakers hope for a new state water plan for Texas

“While many Texans have been hoping fervently for rain through much of 2008, lawmakers pushing for implementation of the state water plan are keeping their fingers crossed that the next few months remain bone-dry,” writes Kate Harrington for the Dallas Business Journal. “‘That’s because the current drought in Central Texas, combined with growing populations and developments in need of water supplies in other areas such as North Texas, may help lawmakers realize the urgency behind implementing a water plan that would manage the state’s water supply better, said Wendy Foster, director of government relations with the Texas Water Development Board.'” Read the full Journal story here.

January 21, 2009

Preserve Our Water reports ‘exceptional’ drought in Blanco County

In their most recent water news alert, Preserve Our Water has released a story on the severity of the drought in Blanco County, an update on the GMA 9 Desired Future Conditions debate, a Texas Legislature preview and a review of drought conditions in the news. Read these stories and more here.

BSEACD releases Aquifer Bulletin for January – April 2009

According to the Barton Springs/ Edwards Aquifer Conservation District: “The District’s Board of Directors declared Critical Stage Drought for the District area on December 11, 2008, and both drought indices, Barton Springs and the Lovelady Well, remain below their respective Critical thresholds (Figure 1). This is only the second time in the District’s 21-year history that a declaration of this severity has been issued, and comes six months after the Board declared Alarm Stage Drought on June 23, 2008.” Read this full story and the rest of the bulletin here.

American Farmland Trust discusses farming during times of urban development

According to the organization’s Web site “‘Sustaining Agriculture in Urbanizing Counties,’ released on December 16, 2008, sought to identify conditions under which farming may remain viable in agriculturally important areas that are subject to substantial development pressures. The report is comprised of 15 county level case studies from 14 different states, and is arranged into chapters covering production inputs, marketing, farmland protection and outlook for the future. Read the full story and download a PDF of the document here.

January 20, 2009

Tight state funds may affect Texas road bills

“Texas Comptroller Susan Combs’ unexpectedly low revenue estimate last week for the next two years was bad news for everyone who spends state dollars,” writes Ben Wear. “But for transportation advocates, having $9.1 billion less for the state’s general fund carried extra sting: Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and then-House Speaker Tom Craddick (remember him?) had all but promised in a letter last summer to grab general fund dollars with both hands and use them on roads. Now, who knows?” Read the full Statesman story here.

CAMPO needs your input on its Transportation Improvement Program survey

The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) is asking for opinions from Central Texans on making amendments to its Transportation Improvement Program. The survey is open until February 13. Click here for more information on the amendments then click here to complete the survey.

January 19, 2009

Rep. Leibowitz Files Bill to Prohibit Discharge of Treated Sewage Effluent into Edwards Aquifer Waterways

From the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance: “State Representative David McQuade Leibowitz (District 117) late Tuesday filed a bill that many believe is much needed to protect the quality of water in the Edwards Aquifer. H.B. 595 states ‘The commission (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality-TCEQ) may not issue a new permit authorizing the discharge of sewage effluent directly into any water in the contributing or recharge zone of the San Antonio or Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer.'” Read the full release here.

January 16, 2009

Trans-Texas Corridor not Dead

“The announcement by TxDOT Executive Director Amadeo Saenz at the Texas Transportation Forum that the ‘Trans Texas Corridor, as it was originally envisioned, is no more,’ is just another in a series of comments to lead opponents into believing the Trans Texas Corridor is indeed dead,” writes Terri Hall for Texans Uniting for Freedom and Reform. “TURF believes this is a deliberate move to dupe opponents into complacency, and we expect iron-clad action before we begin celebrating victory.” Read this story and more recent news at TURF’s Web site.

Celebrate planning and apply for the 2009 ECT Community Stewardship Awards

From Envision Central Texas: “We need your help getting the word out about the 2009 Envision Central Texas Community Stewardship Awards. As you know, the ECT Community Stewardship Awards offer a special opportunity to recognize and honor the innovative people, projects and processes that are addressing growth in our region in ways that will help ensure our quality of life for generations. The application process began on January 9 and will end on February 20. Click here for details or click here to download the application.

Sierra Club releases its 2009 legislative agenda

The Sierra Club has released its list of key issues for the 2009 Texas Legislature session. Among the priority topics are: Clean Air, Smart Energy Solutions, and Parks & Wildlife Funding. Read the full press release here.

January 15, 2009

Documentary on Texas water to air Feb. 12 on PBS

“The one-hour video documentary Texas the State of Flowing Water will air at 8 p.m. central time, Thursday, Feb. 12 on all Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations in Texas. It is the fourth in an award-winning series of water resource documentaries produced by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and broadcast in partnership with PBS stations. Texas the State of Flowing Water examines water resource threats facing Texas and looks at what people can do to protect the state’s most precious natural resource.” Read the full TPWD press release here.

January 14, 2009

2008 driest year in San Marcos since 1902

“The year just passed will go down in the record books for San Marcos, and not in a positive way,” writes Anita Miller for the San Marcos Daily Record. “With a mere 17.01 inches of rainfall officially recorded for the city, 2008 goes down as the driest year on record since at least 1902 — which is as far back as record-keeping goes.” Read the full Record story here.

January 12, 2009

How purchase of development rights can help save open space

“The loss of farmland and open space throughout the country has become a very important issue in recent years,” write Joe Daubenmire and Thomas W. Blaine for Ohio State University. “As more and more land becomes developed, an increasing number of tools have been created to preserve the land that remains. One of the tools that has captured the imagination of planners, elected officials, and others is the purchase of development rights (PDR). Currently 18 states have active PDR programs. The purpose of this fact sheet is to describe this program.” Read more here.