Tribpedia: Water Supply

Tribpedia

Population growth and several droughts in the late 1990s and early 2000s led to more concern over Texas's water supply. Debate over the issue typically finds landowners on one side, environmentalists on the other. Environmental groups support restrictions on water pumping and water use, because droughts proved the risk of a low water supply, and because of the risk ...

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Data App: Track Texas Reservoir Levels

Texas endured the worst drought in recorded state history in 2011 and has yet to bounce back. Some of the state's reservoirs are getting so low they are close to setting records: Lake Travis' water level sits at 622 feet above sea level, only eight feet above the record low set in 1951. Our auto-updating map visualizes the current state of Texas reservoirs.

Paul Dowlearn poses for a portrait at Wichita Valley Nursery in Wichita Falls on Oct. 7. Dowlearn has been collecting rain water for years.
Paul Dowlearn poses for a portrait at Wichita Valley Nursery in Wichita Falls on Oct. 7. Dowlearn has been collecting rain water for years.

Texans Coming to Grips With Rising Water Costs

Water and sewer bills are going up substantially across Texas and in many other places around the country as utilities struggle to maintain aging infrastructure, deal with drought or come to grips with the rising costs of a scarce resource while searching for new supplies. 

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person in the United States diagnosed with the Ebola virus, died in Dallas, Texas on Oct. 8, 2014.
Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person in the United States diagnosed with the Ebola virus, died in Dallas, Texas on Oct. 8, 2014.

The Brief: A Somber Milestone in the Texas Ebola Story

A sad chapter was marked Wednesday in the story of Ebola in Texas with the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who flew to Dallas to join family only to be diagnosed with the deadly disease after arriving.

Lee County resident Hilde Sides protests the Vista Ridge Water Supply Project with other Lee and Bastrop County residents outside the San Antonio City Council public hearing on the project on Oct. 8.
Lee County resident Hilde Sides protests the Vista Ridge Water Supply Project with other Lee and Bastrop County residents outside the San Antonio City Council public hearing on the project on Oct. 8.

Residents Ask for More Time on Controversial Pipeline

At a San Antonio City Council hearing on a $3.4 billion contract that would pipe 16 billion gallons of water a year into the city, residents called for more time before a vote to buy some of the most expensive water ever sold in Texas.

 

International Bridge No. 1 over the Rio Grande looking at Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, from the banks of a city park in Laredo. The Rio Grande could be affected if water from Val Verde County is diverted, one scientist said.
International Bridge No. 1 over the Rio Grande looking at Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, from the banks of a city park in Laredo. The Rio Grande could be affected if water from Val Verde County is diverted, one scientist said.

Small Towns Wrestle With Lengths They'll Go for Water

Thirteen sparsely populated Permian Basin counties are considering a water company's plan to secure groundwater for the region from Val Verde County, hundreds of miles south of the region. But some say such endeavors can hurt the ecosystem of the region losing water.

Lake Texoma in October 2013. Once a major water supply for North Texas, it has been offline amid a zebra mussel infestation.
Lake Texoma in October 2013. Once a major water supply for North Texas, it has been offline amid a zebra mussel infestation.

Reservoir Plan to Be Focus of Contested Case Hearing

UPDATED: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality voted Wednesday to refer protests over the proposed Lower Bois d'Arc Reservoir in northeast Texas to the State Office of Administrative Hearings. The proposed reservoir could be one of the last to be built in the state in the coming decades.

 

A 2013 look at at a boat dock at Lake Travis, whose water level has decreased markedly amid a historic drought. Lake Travis is part of the Central Texas' Highland Lakes.
A 2013 look at at a boat dock at Lake Travis, whose water level has decreased markedly amid a historic drought. Lake Travis is part of the Central Texas' Highland Lakes.

At "Kumbaya" Meeting, New Colorado River Plan Passes

The Lower Colorado River Authority approved a new plan on Wednesday to manage the Colorado River and its reservoirs, known as the Highland Lakes. Cities and environmental advocates were happy with the plan, but some coastal farmers expressed disappointment.

 

Darwyn Hanna grows pecans and runs cattle on some of the land he owns in Bastrop County. He is contesting a water marketer's bid to pump about 15 billion gallons a year from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in Bastrop County, saying the plan would devalue his property.
Darwyn Hanna grows pecans and runs cattle on some of the land he owns in Bastrop County. He is contesting a water marketer's bid to pump about 15 billion gallons a year from the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer in Bastrop County, saying the plan would devalue his property.

Aquifer is No Quick Fix for Central Texas Thirst

As drought continues to grip Central Texas, those looking to provide water to the region’s fast-growing cities and suburbs see a solution in the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, which they say has enough water to support growth for centuries in the area. But others fear the resource will be drained at their expense. 

 

This map shows all nine major aquifers in Texas. The Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer is shown in red.
This map shows all nine major aquifers in Texas. The Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer is shown in red.

A Tale of 2 Water Districts: 1 Aquifer, 2 Strategies

In Central Texas, two groundwater districts have vastly different strategies on how to allow prospective water marketers to pump from the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer. The two different approaches illustrate a conundrum in groundwater law that has yet to be resolved. 

A cascade aerator on the site of the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant outside of San Antonio, where the San Antonio Water System maintains an underground storage reservoir.
A cascade aerator on the site of the Twin Oaks Valley Water Treatment Plant outside of San Antonio, where the San Antonio Water System maintains an underground storage reservoir.

San Antonio Mulls $3 Billion Water Supply Project

San Antonio's water utility is negotiating to eventually pipe in 16 billion gallons of water a year from Burleson County in Central Texas. Officials say the plan is key to securing future water needs, but several questions about the proposal remain unanswered.

Real estate developers building new homes are facing higher water impact fees in Austin, San Antonio and other Texas jurisdictions.
Real estate developers building new homes are facing higher water impact fees in Austin, San Antonio and other Texas jurisdictions.

Some Texas Cities Turn to Higher Water Impact Fees

As cities across Texas continue to spread out, water suppliers and local governments are faced with the question of who should pay for building the infrastructure needed to handle the growth. In the past year, several cities have started to rely raising one-time water impact fees charged to developers.

Panhandle towns are once again pumping out of Lake Meredith again, which was recently empty but now 4% full.
Panhandle towns are once again pumping out of Lake Meredith again, which was recently empty but now 4% full.

In Panhandle, a Growing Need for a Shallow Lake's Water

Water systems in the Panhandle and South Plains last week started drawing water from a once-empty lake that is now just over 4 percent fullIt's a sign of just how strapped the region is for water supplies. With both surface water and groundwater in peril, the region may be forced to rely more on rainfall for agricultural needs.

Pump systems for the Freer Water Control and Improvement District's arsenic removal system facility in Freer, Texas.
Pump systems for the Freer Water Control and Improvement District's arsenic removal system facility in Freer, Texas.

Drinking Water Systems Draw Federal Concerns

More than 310 public drinking water systems in Texas have quality issues that have not been adequately addressed, the Environmental Protection Agency told the state in recent correspondence obtained by the Tribune. TCEQ officials say that the federal estimate is outdated and that the agency has dramatically stepped up enforcement related to the issue.

Scientists say higher temperatures due to global warming are already diminishing water resources, and that climate change will cause the southern and western portions of the state to become drier. Those regions supply water for fast-growing cities like Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, as well as the Rio Grande Valley.
Scientists say higher temperatures due to global warming are already diminishing water resources, and that climate change will cause the southern and western portions of the state to become drier. Those regions supply water for fast-growing cities like Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, as well as the Rio Grande Valley.

Water Planners Focus on Bigger Texas, Not a Hotter One

As state water planners prepare to spend $2 billion in public funds to address Texas’ water needs in the coming decades, scientists say that state leaders' skepticism on climate change will only impair such planning. The scientists say higher temperatures due to global warming are already diminishing water resources.

Construction at the DOW chemical plant along the Brazos River in Freeport on July 9, 2012.
Construction at the DOW chemical plant along the Brazos River in Freeport on July 9, 2012.

Dow Chemical's Water Woes Signal Trouble

Dow Chemical's struggles to secure enough water supplies for its growing operations in Texas have sparked concerns about whether the state's diminishing natural resources can accommodate its exploding population and economy. Critics, including Dow, say Texas is falling behind in planning properly for its water future.