Save Texas Rivers
In November voters approved Proposition 6, our best chance yet to combat the drought and make a historic investment in water conservation. Now, our staff and members are working to make sure we tip the balance in favor of our rivers.
At stake: the lifeblood of Texas
Canoeing the Colorado on a hot summer afternoon. Watching turtles in the Comal. Rope swinging into the cool waters of the Guadalupe.
There’s something special about Texas rivers. But wasteful water use, coupled with drought, has lowered water levels in our rivers to near record lows. As a result, there’s barely enough water for drinking water, recreation and endangered whooping cranes.
One of the worst droughts in history
2011 was the worst single-year drought ever and we’ve seen little improvement since. In August, river water levels were less than 25 percent of normal and multiple rivers were at record lows. Lower water levels hurt habitat, threaten wildlife, strain drinking water supplies, and disrupt outdoor recreational activities.
Unfortunately, the state’s proposed plan for satisfying future water demand favors increased water withdrawals that could further harm our rivers. In many cases, the state has given permission for more water to be withdrawn from rivers than is actually available.
We have the technology to save water
Wasteful water use occurs across Texas and throughout the economy, imperiling Texas’ water supply. Agricultural, municipal and industrial water consumers withdraw more water from rivers and aquifers than is necessary to irrigate crops, maintain landscaping, and produce energy. At least 500 billion gallons of water are wasted each year, enough to meet the municipal water needs of 9 million Texans.
A chance for a new water future
In November, voters approved Proposition 6, authorizing the creation of a multi-billion dollar water infrastructure fund. This spring, regional and state water planners will decide how to spend that money. We’re urging planners to prioritize projects to cut water waste and protect our rivers.
Loans should go to farmers, businesses and cities to help upgrade agricultural irrigation equipment, install more efficient appliances, and repair leaking water mains. That means more water will be available to protect our treasured, and ailing, rivers like the Colorado, Guadalupe and the Trinity.
Together, we can save our rivers
Our staff has been knocking on doors across the state to educate Texans about what’s at stake. We’re also testifying in the Legislature, researching water conservation solutions, and shining a spotlight in the media on the need to keep our rivers full and flowing with water. But the real key to winning this fight is you.
Across the state, thousands of our supporters have called or emailed state legislators, signed petitions, spread the word to friends and family, and attended hearings at the Capitol. With your support, we can force the state’s biggest water wasters to start saving water and stop draining our rivers. If enough of us speak out, we can save Texas rivers.
Urge Gov. Perry to tip the balance in favor of our rivers.
- The Texas Water Development Board anticipates that 51 percent of new water supplies will come from rivers and streams as the state’s aquifers are increasingly depleted.
- Water withdrawals from the Guadalupe River have led to the deaths of 23 whooping cranes in the world’s only remaining migrating flock. Despite flows that are already inadequate, the 2012 state water plan includes proposals for more diversions from the river.
- In July 2012, 11 reservoirs across the state were still less than 10 percent full.