water

Energy & Environment
6:13 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Water Service at Fort Hood, Killeen & Copperas Cove Still Not Back to Normal (Update)

Fort Hood is asking non-essential personnel to stay home today as a result of Stage 4 water restrictions.
KUT News

Update: Water service is still not fully restored at Fort Hood. The post is on limited supply because of a problem with its main water line.

Military personnel will report to the Central Texas Army post today a little later than usual and physical training is canceled.

Other parts of the post are starting to get back to work. Child care centers at Fort Hood and the Darnall Army Medical Center will be open today as usual.

Fort Hood is under Stage 4 water restrictions until the supply problem is resolved. And people there should boil water before drinking it or cooking with it – until the quality can be tested.

Original Story (July 14, 7:04 a.m.): Fort Hood is in an extreme, but temporary, water shortage. The Central Texas Army post's water supply has been interrupted as a result of a Stage 4 critical emergency conservation order from the Bell County Water Control and Improvement District.

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StateImpact Texas
1:36 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

How Climate Change Could Lead to More Massive Fish Kills in Texas

Dead fish washed ashore during a toxic bloom of golden algae in Canyon Lakes in Lubbock, Texas.
Credit Photo by Michael Hooper courtesy of USGS.

From the Asian Carp to the Zebra Mussel, Texas has its fair share of invasive species. Some of them get a lot of attention (I'm looking at you, voracious feral hog). Others tend to sneak under the radar even when they damage ecosystems.

Take Golden Algae. Originally from Europe, the microscopic plant was discovered on the Pecos River in 1985 when an algae bloom killed hundreds of thousands of fish. Since then, it has colonized other Texas river basins and killed millions more fish. Unlike deadly algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico that kill fish by taking all the oxygen, golden algae is, itself, toxic. Under the right circumstances, it produces a poison that kills fish and bivalves in the affected waters.

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Water
7:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Environmentalists Cheer Water Rate Hike, Mayors Not So Much

http://flic.kr/p/5oEmbT

Environmentalists are giving cautious approval to a plan by the Lower Colorado River Authority to raise municipal water rates by 19.5 percent next year.

The increase would not affect Austin Water customers, because the city-owned utility has a separate deal with the LCRA. But it would affect people in other Central Texas cities such as Dripping Springs, Cedar Park and Leander. 

“Water in Texas is very cheap and by and large," says Ken Kramer with the Lone Star chapter of the Sierra Club, "price increases will, in the long term, at least have a positive impact in making us more efficient in the use of that valuable resource.”

But some Central Texas mayors are not enthusiastic about their constituents paying more for water, especially in some of the faster-growing Austin suburbs like Leander. That city partnered with Round Rock and Cedar Park to develop a $350 million regional water system that could accommodate their growing populations. 

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Energy & Environment
10:23 am
Thu October 17, 2013

For Rain Barrel Users, Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Water?

Rainwater harvesters are loving Austin’s wet weather. This residential rainwater collection system uses tanks from Austin-based Poly-Mart.
Dick Peterson

Austin's recent rains have caused a fair amount of trouble. But some folks made out like bandits during the recent deluge.

Many urban rain collectors watched recent downpours overwhelm their rain barrels and cisterns. It raises a question: Can too much rain be a bad thing, even for rainwater harvesters?

Most rain harvesters say: Nope.

Karen Collins, who collects rain at her home in Austin and on farmland north of Liberty Hill, is optimistic about the surge in rain. “It’s wonderful,” she says. “My tanks are completely full. I am in great shape. There are times in the summer when I don’t have any rainwater.”

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StateImpact Texas
11:56 am
Tue October 15, 2013

How Hundreds of 'Significant Hazard' Dams Escape State Inspection

Credit TCEQ

This is part two of a series devoted to looking at the infrastructure of dams in Texas, and what can be done to improve it. You can find part one here.

In 2008, the Texas State Auditor’s office released the kind of report that keeps public officials awake at night.  It found that state regulators were not ensuring the proper maintenance of thousands of dams in Texas. The audit found that state inspectors had never visited hundreds of dams that could cause loss of life if they failed.

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Drought
5:30 am
Mon October 14, 2013

A Tiny Bit of Vegetable Oil Could Save Texas Billions of Gallons of Water

Right now, the Highland Lakes are only 34 percent full. In an average year, they lose about as much water to evaporation as the whole city of Austin consumes.
Lower Colorado River Authority

Parts of Central Texas saw as much as 12 inches of rain over the weekend. Water levels in the Highland Lakes  rose slightly, but the storm was far from a drought-buster.

Lakes Travis and Buchanan remain only about one-third full. 

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Politics
5:30 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Agenda Texas: Can Water Pass?

Will the need for water projects carry the election in November?
Lower Colorado River Authority

Lawmakers across the Texas Capitol are tearing rotator cuffs patting themselves on the back for finding a way to pay for desperately needed water infrastructure projects.

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83rd Texas Legislature
10:54 am
Tue May 28, 2013

83rd Lege's Regular Session: What Happened, What Didn't

Bob Daemmrich/Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Todd Wiseman via Texas Tribune

It's been a whirlwind of an end to the 83rd Legislature's regular session, and with Monday's announcement of a special session, lawmakers aren't done. Here's a look at the deals reached and the measures that fell short during the 140 days of the regular session. 

BUDGET

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Politics
5:30 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Agenda Texas: Water Funding Gets New Life

Rep. Pitts (R-Waxahachie) is pushing a new water plan this week.
Photo courtesy the Texas Tribune for KUT News

It looks like lawmakers have finally come to an agreement on how to fund future water infrastructure projects in Texas. Step one of the agreement was the House finally sending Senate Joint Resolution 1 to the House Appropriations committee for a vote.

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Politics
5:30 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Agenda Texas: Final Fortnight for 2013 Legislature

Still plenty let to do before the session ends on the May 27th.
Image courtesy Dave Wilson Photography http://www.flickr.com/photos/dawilson/

Two weeks to go in the Texas Legislative session folks. And there’s even less time than that for lawmakers to pass bills before constitutional deadlines make it nearly impossible to get things done.

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Politics
5:30 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Agenda Texas: What's Left To Do?

Lots to do...with little time left in the Legislature
KUT News

When the Texas legislative session started in January, lawmakers came to Austin with money to spend and a specific set of priorities. House Speaker Joe Straus laid out those goals during an opening press conference with Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

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Business
5:59 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Texas Water Shortages Could Put Limit on Fracking

Fracking uses a lot of water in drawing gas and oil out of the ground.
Eddie Seal, Texas Tribune

Shortages of water could limit the growth of fracking in Texas, according to a report from Ceres, a nonprofit group that advises investors about corporations’ sustainability practices.

Monika Freyman, who wrote the report for Ceres, says that fracking accounts for more than 20 percent of the water used in some Texas counties.

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Politics
5:30 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Agenda Texas: What's a Point of Order?

Separate from the Supreme Court's recent decision, a federal court will decide on the constitutionality of Texas redistricting.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/fabliaux

Alright class: get out your pencils, it’s quiz time. 

True or False: If a bill is brought up for debate in the Texas House, and a majority of lawmakers support the bill, nothing can defeat it.

Time’s up.

Who said True? O.k. none of you get pudding after dinner.

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Politics
5:30 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Agenda Texas: Tanking the Water Bill

As Texas faces one of the driest years on record, a team of people with a stake in water from the Highland Lakes have agreed on a plan for Lower Colorado River Authority's water management over the next 10 years.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

You might have heard a major effort to pay for water projects went down in flames last night in the Texas House. House Bill 11 would have spent $2 billion out of the state’s rainy day account to finally fund the state’s 50-year water plan.

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Austin
11:53 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Austin - Soon You’ll Be Able to Irrigate the Yard With Your Washing Machine Wastewater

An upscale greywater garden, built in Los Angeles.
flickr.com/jeremylevinedesign

In an eco-friendly city like Austin, you’d think reclaimed water systems for the home would be a no-brainer. Instead, the entire city has only one fully licensed greywater system. But that could soon change.

Greywater systems (or graywater, or grey water – there’s no universally accepted spelling) take used water from sinks, showers and washing machines and funnel it to uses like landscaping instead of sending it down the drain. (Greywater doesn’t include toilet water.)

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
4:05 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Amendment Would Provide Money for Roads and Water

Voters would need to sign off on the transfer from the Rainy Day Fund.
Daniel Reese

A plan approved today by the Texas Senate Finance Committee would spend a lot of money on water and road projects if Texas voters give the go-ahead.

A constitutional amendment proposed by committee chair Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, would tap into the Rainy Day Fund, which is money mostly from the state’s gas and oil tax revenues, for transportation and water projects.

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The Lead
8:53 am
Tue March 19, 2013

The Lead: Norwood Trial Update, Tx Construction Jobs Tops in U.S.

Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after jury selection for his trial, Mar 18, 2013.
Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

Good morning! Austin’s in for another warm day, although not as hot as yesterday’s record highs: we can expect a high near 80 degrees and increasing cloud cover as the day continues, according to the National Weather Service.

Lead Story: Jury selection began yesterday in the trial of a man accused of killing Michael Morton’s wife in 1986.Morton was the Austin man who spent almost 25 years prison for his wife’s murder, before he was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2011. 

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The Lead
8:59 am
Fri March 15, 2013

The Lead: House to Vote on Water Plan, Protecting Capitol Views

A Texas water plan will come to the House for a vote.
flickr.com/bcfoto

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin’s in for a warm and breezy day, with highs in the lower 80s.

Lead Story: As more people move to Texas, the state is facing a growing need for water. At the state Capitol yesterday, a plan to establish a long-term fund for water projects took a significant step forward.

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Politics
8:01 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Should Texas Use 'Rainy Day' Fund for Water Projects?

Ongoing drought has Texas lawmakers paying attention to the state's water needs.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

Should Texas take money from the state’s so-called Rainy Day Fund for water projects? It’s an idea that will get a closer look today.

Lawmakers in the House Appropriations Committee are holding a public hearing this morning on the proposal. The bill would set aside $2 billion from the economic stabilization or "Rainy Day" fund for water projects.

The bill’s author – Rep. Allan Ritter (R-Nederland) – says prolonged statewide drought has revealed the importance of developing a dedicated source of revenue for the state’s water plan.

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Environment
5:33 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

This Bill Aims to Quiet Down Texas' Water Wars

The Red River is one interstate point of contention over water rights.
courtesy flickr.com/texasbackroads

As Texas begins a third year of drought, conflicts with neighboring states over water are progressing as well. Now, as Terrence Henry reports for StateImpact Texas, one state lawmaker is hoping to bring some calm to Texas’ water wars.

There’s an abundance of water that’s available that flows into the Gulf of Mexico, and no one’s capturing the economic benefit from it.

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