The Nature Conservancy lauds the Texas State Legislature for its passage of Senate Bill 181, which calls for a standard methodology for measuring water usage throughout the State of Texas.
“Despite the many other challenges in this legislative session, we were able to score a victory for conservation today and it couldn’t have come at a more critical time,” said Laura Huffman, Texas state director for The Nature Conservancy. “As we all know, the State of Texas is growing and will continue to do so at a rapid pace in the coming years. Our state water plan tells us we will have to implement $30 billion dollars worth of water supply strategies to meet the needs of our rapidly expanding population. It also says that nearly one quarter of our future water supply must come from conservation – an astounding number, no matter how you slice it.”
There is currently no mechanism in place to accurately measure water usage and conservation across the state of Texas. Under current law, water user groups are required to submit both water usage reports and conservation plans in order to obtain a water right or state funding; however, the ways in which they respectively measure their water use in gallons per capita per day (GPCD), and thus their conservation success, varies widely across the board.
“When dealing with a resource as valuable as water, we cannot afford to make critical decisions based on poor or inadequate data,” said Senator Florence Shapiro, the lead author on the bill. "In order to accurately measure conservation success now and in the decades to come, we will need to know how much water is currently being used and where it is going. Senate Bill 181 is a vital development in Texas' water use and conservation efforts."
The passage of SB 181 will direct the Water Development Board, TCEQ, and the Water Conservation Advisory Council to develop and implement a uniform, sector-based metric for measuring water usage in gallons per capita per day. For utilities that service 3,300 or more households, businesses and other facilities, this metric will demonstrate where and how water is being used – thereby giving utilities the information they need to implement the most effective conservation strategies available to them.
“Within the next 50 years, our population will double while available water resources will, at best, remain as they are now. Until now, we lacked the basic foundation needed to take the first step towards meeting these enormous demands,” said Senator Kirk Watson, co-author on the bill “Senate Bill 181 is an important building block to put us on the right track.”
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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