Some Environmental groups from across Texas are criticizing the lack of priority the State Water Board has given water conservation in the State Water Plan.
Environment Texas, the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, and Clean Water Action claim the water board has largely ignored conservation as a key component in addressing the state's future water needs.
The State Water Boards priority list, which was released by the Associated Press last Thursday, only allocates 3 percent of funding for conservation, even though the State Water Plan projects that 24 percent of our future water needs can be met solely through conservation efforts.
"That's a huge missed opportunity to help cut water waste and save water. Conservation is a far more environmentally responsible way to meet our future water needs, and also often the cheapest way," said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas.
Metzger says the board's priority list needs to represent more of a balanced solution, with emphasis on both maximizing the efficiency of our water use, and preserving enough water for our wildlife and recreation.
"We'd like the Water Development Board to set aside at least half of any new funding for conservation reuse," said Metzger, "and we have lots of great models to look to. San Antonio has grown by more than 65 percent over the last decade while using the same amount of water, and they've done this through the use of conservation programs."
Metzger blamed the old traditions of several water board members on this serious under estimation of the power of conservation, pointing to the fact that several members still hold a 20th century mind set that most water needs can still be met through the building of lakes.
"And then you also have very powerful interests, the engineering companies and water marketers that have financial interests in seeing those kind of big reservoirs and pipelines built," said Metzger. "There isn't the same kind of political campaign contributions given by water conservation advocates."
the three groups also highlighted the opportunity our state has to save billions of gallons of water through improved irrigation technologies and practices in agriculture, expanded use of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and recycling and reuse of frack water.
By: Marissa A. Wagner
Monday, March 11, 2013
Image attributed to: www.texaswaterlaw.com