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A Note From Andrew Sansom

An open letter from Andrew Sansom of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment on the launch of the revamped Trib+Water newsletter.

Andrew Sansom, Executive Director of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.

I believe in evolution. This inaugural issue of Trib+Water is both a new beginning and an exciting move to the next level for the communications partnership of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and The Texas Tribune. Known formerly as In the Flow, this newsletter has evolved with leadership from Editor Carol Flake Chapman to be a principal source of timely insightful information concerning the ever more critical water issues facing Texas and the world. Now, we at the Meadows Center at Texas State University are proud that our unique partnership will become the first in a series of newsletters published by the Tribune concerning other vital issues of the day.

And we evolve none too soon as the need to provide water for both economic growth and the environment becomes more critical by the day here in Texas and beyond. Our population is expected to double in the next 50 years, for example, and yet the state has already given permission for more water to be withdrawn from most of our rivers and reservoirs than is actually in them — bringing unprecedented pressure on our groundwater resources, which remain largely unregulated. Additionally, continued litigation regarding protection of endangered species threatens to severely complicate management of surface water resources, as we have neglected to protect them sufficiently. Here in Texas, where virtually all of our recharge zones and watersheds are on lands owned by private citizens, we have done little to slow the inexorable loss of these vital components of the hydrologic cycle to other, less "water beneficial" purposes.

The speaker of the state House has issued interim charges designed to address key water policy issues. And our state leadership and the voters of Texas have created a revolving fund of $2 billion to finance conservation efforts and water infrastructure. With rules for use of these funds now in development, the devil is in the details, and the kind of intelligence to be found in Trib+Water in the months and years ahead will be vital to those who will follow the process and who understand that the water issue has everything to with both our continued economic prosperity in Texas and our very quality of life.

Thus it is both a privilege and a sobering responsibility for this extraordinary partnership between a great university research and education center and the most unique new media business model in the country to continue to bring you the news and information you need to know about our most critical natural resource each week in Trib+Water.

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