"Watershed News" will have the dual mission of reporting the work of our volunteers and keeping you informed of the issues concerning land and water in the Wimberley Valley. Together, we are all working to protect Jacob's Well and the waters that make this place so beautiful.
Friday, May 9, 2014
New Report on Texas Water Planning
issues report: Learning from Drought
New Report on Texas Water
report issued today by the non-profit Texas Center for Policy Studies
(TCPS) finds that the current water planning process in Texas tends to
over-estimate future water demand and under-estimate the potential for
making better use of existing supplies. Richard Lowerre, TCPS
Executive Director, said “This report shows that, with more reasonable
demand projections and better use of conservation and drought
management, the demand/supply gap in 2060 is less than one-half that
predicted by the current 2012 State Water Plan issued by the Texas
Water Development Board. That is, rather than an 8.3 million
acre-feet/year gap between demand and supply in 2060, a more realistic
gap is about 3.3 million acre-feet/year.”
The report, Learning from Drought: Next
Generation Water Planning for Texas, analyzes the methods
used by the state and the 16 regional water planning groups to develop
demand and supply projections. “The region-based Texas water
planning process was groundbreaking when it first got off the ground 15
years ago. But, times and technologies have changed, and it’s
appropriate to look at how the planning process can evolve to give us a
better sense of real priorities,” said Mary Kelly, a consultant with
Parula, LLC and one of the report’s co-authors. “This is
particularly important as the state begins to look at how to spend the
new $ 2 billion water infrastructure fund authorized by voters in
November 2013,” she added.
report makes a number of recommendations for the future of water
planning in Texas. For example, it recommends moving away from
current “single scenario” forecasts to an approach that looks at a
range of future scenarios. “A multiple scenario approach would
allow a much more comprehensive look at the kind of choices we make
about how water is used and the expense of building new infrastructure
versus more efficiently using existing supplies,” said Joe Trungale, an
water resources engineer and co-author of the report.
Other recommendations include:
More reasonable assumptions about the need for
water for future steam electric generation;
Enhanced consideration of drought contingency
planning as a supply strategy;
More thorough consideration of brackish
groundwater desalination as a supply strategy;
Gathering and using more accurate data on
current water use;
Making healthy rivers and bays and vibrant
rural economies co-equal with other goals of the water planning process.
drought has provided new insights into the vulnerability of communities
whose needs have been ignored and into the willingness of Texans to
adopt innovative and far-reaching water conservation practices.
Combined with the developments in state water financing, a more
prominent role for the Texas Water Development Board and heightened
public interest in water, now is the time to examine whether we have a
planning process that is up to the task,” added Mr. Lowerre.
The Texas Center for Policy Studies is a 501(c)(3) non-profit,
founded in 1983. The report is available on the TCPS website at www.texascenter.org.