Kate Galbraith Reporter

Kate Galbraith has covered energy and environment for the Tribune since 2010. Previously she reported on clean energy for The New York Times from 2008 to 2009, serving as the lead writer for the Times' Green blog. She began her career at The Economist in 2000 and spent 2005 to 2007 in Austin as the magazine's Southwest correspondent. A Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University from 2007 to 2008, she has an undergraduate degree in English from Harvard and a master's degree from the London School of Economics. She is co-author of The Great Texas Wind Rush, a book about how the oil and gas state won the race to wind power.

Recent Contributions

Across Texas, Athletic Fields Suffer in Drought

Outdoor watering has been banned in Llano, so workers dug a ditch in late June before laying a pipe that will bring well water to football practice fields.
Outdoor watering has been banned in Llano, so workers dug a ditch in late June before laying a pipe that will bring well water to football practice fields.

As one of the worst droughts in Texas history intensifies, a notable if lesser worry is the condition of athletic fields. Some fields are getting patchy already, and a summer of 90 or 100 degree temperatures still lies ahead.

Water-Starved Town May Face Draconian Restrictions

Children in Llano, Texas, can still swim in the town reservoir but due to low water levels can no longer jump off the dam.
Children in Llano, Texas, can still swim in the town reservoir but due to low water levels can no longer jump off the dam.

The small Central Texas town of Llano, entirely dependent on a river that's now only a trickle, is facing potentially draconian water restrictions. And it's not alone. If rain doesn't come soon, more cities could too.

Proposed Coal Plant's Water Plan Stirs Debate

Robert Malina and Eva Malina have an anti coal sign at the entrance to their property and home near Bay City, Texas Monday, June 13, 2011 which is within sight of the planned White Stallion coal-fired power plant on the Colorado River.
Robert Malina and Eva Malina have an anti coal sign at the entrance to their property and home near Bay City, Texas Monday, June 13, 2011 which is within sight of the planned White Stallion coal-fired power plant on the Colorado River.

Plans to build a coal plant called the White Stallion Energy Center near Bay City have stirred considerable controversy, as residents near and far worry about air pollution and the huge amounts of water needed to operate the plant.

Texas Rice Farmers' Livelihoods at Stake in Water Talks

Jose Avila, left, and Hilario Luna on June 13, 2011, repair an overflow damaged by crawdads on a levee of Mike Burnside's rice fields, flooded with water from the Colorado River, near Bay City.
Jose Avila, left, and Hilario Luna on June 13, 2011, repair an overflow damaged by crawdads on a levee of Mike Burnside's rice fields, flooded with water from the Colorado River, near Bay City.
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Despite the drought, rice fields in Southeast Texas are emerald green this time of year, thanks to water released from two reservoirs hundreds of miles up the Colorado River. But the rice growers fear for their future, as water restrictions tighten. 

Series Explores Central Texas' Water Supply

Water levels have dropped at Lake Travis because the drought, May 16 2011.
Water levels have dropped at Lake Travis because the drought, May 16 2011.
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The Texas Tribune and KUT 90.5 FM are running a five-part series this week on water supplies in Central Texas, looking specifically at the long-term future of two key lakes that supply water to Austin and other growing cities, as well as to rice farmers a few hundred miles down the Colorado River.

As Texas Lake Levels Fall, Residents Fret

At Thunderbird Resort on Lake Buchanan, a 15-foot gap has developed between this swimming platform and the water line, as the lake has fallen to 12 feet below full.
At Thunderbird Resort on Lake Buchanan, a 15-foot gap has developed between this swimming platform and the water line, as the lake has fallen to 12 feet below full.
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As Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis drop lower each day, worried locals are seeing their swimming coves dry up, and it's not just because of lack of rain. Rice farmers and Central Texas cities are taking a good share of the water.

 

A Clash Over Water in Central Texas

Residents of Lake Travis have extended staircases and moved docks further out to accommodate lower lake levels. Some say the declining levels are bringing down property values.
Residents of Lake Travis have extended staircases and moved docks further out to accommodate lower lake levels. Some say the declining levels are bringing down property values.

The state's record dry spell has rice farmers, growing cities and a proposed coal plant competing for water from drought-stricken lakes. This is the first in a five-part print and radio series, "Water Fight," with KUT News.

Dwindling Lakes, Growing Water Demand in Central Texas

Residents of Lake Travis have extended staircases and moved docks further out to accommodate lower lake levels. Some say the declining levels are bringing down property values.
Residents of Lake Travis have extended staircases and moved docks further out to accommodate lower lake levels. Some say the declining levels are bringing down property values.

The current drought, drier than any other October-through-May stretch in Texas history, has heightened the stakes in an already contentious long-term planning battle over water from the Highland Lakes.

Water Deal for Texas Coal Plant Postponed

Rikki Stanley, director of local development for the White Stallion Energy Center, shows a chunk of the type of coal that the coal plant plans to burn.
Rikki Stanley, director of local development for the White Stallion Energy Center, shows a chunk of the type of coal that the coal plant plans to burn.

In a victory for environmental groups, the L.C.R.A. board decided to delay the decision on whether to grant a large water contract to the proposed White Stallion coal plant near Bay City.

With Little Help, Texas' Solar Use Grows — Slowly

A number of homes an Austin's Mueller development have added solar panels, thanks to hefty local and federal incentives.
A number of homes an Austin's Mueller development have added solar panels, thanks to hefty local and federal incentives.

Renewable energy companies are looking to this big, sunny state as the next frontier for solar power. But solar is expensive, and once again the Legislature did not pass a statewide solar incentive. Some companies and communities are forging ahead nonetheless.