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Texas Water News Roundup | October 2016

Submitted by Sean Hennigan on Fri, 11/04/2016 - 12:53pm

Statewide – Texas state representative Lyle Larson is preparing legislation that would dramatically increase the state's reliance on aquifer storage and recovery (ASR), as reported this month in an article by the Abilene Reporter-News. Larson's proposed network of underground reservoirs, which he likens to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, would capture excess water from high-volume precipitation events similar to storms during this year's dramatic and destructive El Niño season, eventually storing enough water to get the state through a drought lasting up to seven years. There are several obstacles to implementing the ambitious proposal, including the likelihood of across-the-board budget cuts in the upcoming legislative session. You can read the story here.

An unusually wet El Niño helped much of the state out of a drought this spring, but recent weather patterns suggest the reprieve may have been short-lived. According to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), about six percent of the state is in moderate drought, with significant portions of the Gulf Coast and the Panhandle experiencing “abnormally dry” conditions. This October was the driest on record for much of the state, and the National Weather Service expects conditions to intensify through at least January. You can read more on the story here.

On October 20, the TWDB approved over $54 million in flood mitigation assistance grants. The grants are funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and most of the grants will go to cities and counties on the Gulf Coast, though the cities of Cedar Park and New Braunfels will also be recipients. You can read more on the story here.

Region C – On September 28, the United States House of Representatives passed the Water Resources Development Act. Among the amendments to the bill was one which could expedite construction of the Lower Bois d'Arc Creek Reservoir, a billion-dollar proposed reservoir in Fannin County that would provide water to the growing Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. The amendment requires both the Environmental Protection Agency and US Army Corps of Engineers to issue—or deny—a final permit for construction by September of next year. While the Lower Bois d'Arc Creek project has already received state approval and $82 million in loans from the TWDB through its State Water Implementation for Texas (SWIFT) fund, the project has its share of detractors. Farmers in Fannin County are concerned that they will lose their land and livelihoods to the 16,000-plus acre reservoir, and environmental advocates believe the region is not doing enough to exploit existing resources. You can read more on the story here.

Regional Planning Group Meetings for November and December 2016

(C) Region C

Monday December 5, 2016; 1:00 pm

New Location: North Central Texas Council of Governments, Centerpoint Two Bldg, 616 Six Flags Drive, Arlington, Texas 76011

(I) East Texas

November 9, 2016; 10:00am

Nacogdoches Recreational Center, 1112 North Street, Nacogdoches, Texas.

Upcoming H2O4Texas Statewide Tour

Region B&C Meeting in Plano

Wednesday November 10, 2016; 1:30 pm

Collin College Spring Creek Campus - Auditorium, 2800 East Spring Creek Parkway Plano, TX, 75074 United States

Region H Meeting in Conroe

November 16, 2016; 1:30pm

San Jacinto River Authority, 1577 Dam Site Road Conroe, TX, 77304 United States