Issue Papers and Publications

Desalination: Is it Worth its Salt?

November 2013

Desalination is often viewed as a solution to many water supply problems and is often hailed as a ‘drought resistant’ supply. This report explores the environmental, energy, and economic issues surrounding desalination and provides an overview of desalination activities in Texas.

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State Planning and Funding to Meet Critical Water Needs of Texas

February 2013

Local and regional water suppliers have asserted that State financial assistance is needed to fund about half of the total $53 billion price tag for water infrastructure projects in the current State Water Plan. However, simply providing that funding without carefully prioritizing projects and also improving the State Water Plan would not be the most efficient use of taxpayer funds.

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Thirsting for Less: Water Conservation Progress and Potential in North Central Texas

December 2012

Conserving Texas’ water through increasing efficiency, reducing waste, and lowering demand is ever more important in our rapidly growing state. This report evaluates water conservation efforts in North Central Texas and recommends additional local, regional, and state actions that could be taken so that the full potential of conservation to meet water needs may be achieved.

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Sprayed Away: Seven Ways to Reduce Texas’ Outdoor Water Use

July 2010

One of the most critical issues facing Texas now and in the future is how we use water. The ways in which we approach water have enormous implications for our environment, our pocket books, and the quality of our lives. We can only grapple with this issue successfully if we have a clear idea of how much water we use, how we use it, and how we might become more efficient in using it. One major area of water use in Texas is outdoor landscape watering, which is especially significant in the summer. This report reviews the outdoor water use in 18 Texas cities in recent years to better understand outdoor water use in our state and to examine how we might become more efficient in that use.

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The Unknown River of Central Texas: Characterization of the James River

April 2010

The James River, a tributary of the Llano River, is a relatively unspoiled gem in an arid and remote region of Central Texas. This little known spring-fed river provides exceptional aquatic habitat and flowing waters for domestic, livestock and wildlife purposes, even during drought.

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Drop By Drop: Seven Ways Texas Cities Can Conserve Water

March 2010

This report recommends seven common-sense water conservation measures. It reviews 19 cities around the state to see where these measures are in place and concludes that, with some exceptions, most of the cities surveyed are not doing enough to make the most efficient use of existing water supplies.

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New Ways to Put Water Rights to Work for Fish and Wildlife in Texas

March 2010

Managing and protecting our water resources is one of the most critical issues facing Texas today. As the state’s population increases, human demands for water will grow. But we still need to ensure that there is adequate water for agriculture, industry and the environment. This guide provides information on how to turn existing water rights permits into instream flow permits or amend an existing water rights permit to include instream use.

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Down to the Last Drop

April 2009

After years of well-founded best “guestimates”, local groundwater managers are currently seeking to bring more science and technical analysis to bear on defining how the state’s aquifers will be managed into the future. The resulting groundwater availability decisions will determine whether essential flows the aquifers provide to the state’s springs, creeks, and rivers can be sustained. Texas must ensure that the groundwater resources we’ve just begun to fully understand are managed in a way that will support the water needs of our state and our environment into the foreseeable future. This report offers a number of recommendations to accomplish this goal.

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Brackish Groundwater Desalination

April 2009

The 2007 Texas State Water Plan identified brackish groundwater desalination as one of the water supply strategies to be used across the state to meet the State’s projected water demands over the next 50 years. Brackish groundwater desalination is the process of treating water that contains a high level of total dissolved solids to a quality where it may be used for drinking water or other beneficial uses.

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