Tribpedia: Water Supply

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 ...

Aquifer is No Quick Fix for Central Texas Thirst

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.

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. 

 

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.

Proposed Water Supply Project Draws Praise, Concerns

San Antonio's water utility is negotiating to pipe in 16 billion gallons of water a year from Burleson County. Officials say the plan is key to securing future water needs, but others still have questions.

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.

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

Several 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. 

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 a More Populous Texas, but 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 state leaders' skepticism on climate change will only impair such planning.

Lake Travis, a major water supply reservoir for Austin, is severely depleted due to drought. The State Water Plan calls for dozens more such reservoir projects to be built in the coming decades to meet Texas' future water needs.
Lake Travis, a major water supply reservoir for Austin, is severely depleted due to drought. The State Water Plan calls for dozens more such reservoir projects to be built in the coming decades to meet Texas' future water needs.

Proposed New Rules Shed Light on Future Water Projects

UPDATED: The Texas Water Development Board’s release of draft rules Tuesday afternoon offered Texans a clearer sense of how the board will prioritize and fund competing water supply projects.

Lake Travis, a major water supply reservoir for Austin, is severely depleted due to drought. The State Water Plan calls for dozens more such reservoir projects to be built in the coming decades to meet Texas' future water needs.
Lake Travis, a major water supply reservoir for Austin, is severely depleted due to drought. The State Water Plan calls for dozens more such reservoir projects to be built in the coming decades to meet Texas' future water needs.

What's the Magic Number on Texas' Water Needs?

How much water does the state need in the coming decades? It depends on whom you ask. State water planners say that Texas needs 2.7 trillion more gallons of water a year by 2060. But some water law and planning specialists say that figure is far too high.

 

Granbury resident Joe Williams (left) stands with City Council Member Rose Myers and Hood County Commissioner Steve Berry under a Lake Granbury resident's dock in the Waters Edge neighborhood on Lake Granbury's north shore. The lake is 53 percent full.
Granbury resident Joe Williams (left) stands with City Council Member Rose Myers and Hood County Commissioner Steve Berry under a Lake Granbury resident's dock in the Waters Edge neighborhood on Lake Granbury's north shore. The lake is 53 percent full.

Criticism of Water Policy Flows From Conservatives

Many conservative activists in Texas worry that when it comes to state water policy, Republican leaders have not focused on principles like small government, private property rights and local control. 

Daniel Ortuño, who manages the 1.5 million drilling records stored at the University of Texas at Austin's Bureau of Economic Geology, examines well data in what he calls the "spooky room," home to thousands of records that he has not yet organized. State water researchers are using information from some logs to map potential water sources.
Daniel Ortuño, who manages the 1.5 million drilling records stored at the University of Texas at Austin's Bureau of Economic Geology, examines well data in what he calls the "spooky room," home to thousands of records that he has not yet organized. State water researchers are using information from some logs to map potential water sources.

Digging Up Drilling Logs, Hoping to Strike Water

As drought grips most of Texas, researchers are combing the state's 1.5 million drilling records to map brackish water in the state's 30 aquifers — hidden resources that could help quench the state’s long-term thirst.