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A crisis can be a valuable experience, if we learn from it. Most Texans are aware that we have been experiencing a chronic crisis for the past five years: a historic drought that has attracted national attention and radically reshaped how we think about water.

We have the opportunity now to learn from this current crisis. A 2014 study commissioned by the Texas Water Foundation finds that only 28 percent of Texans know where their water comes from; that’s the same percentage as in...

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A crisis can be a valuable experience, if we learn from it. Most Texans are aware that we have been experiencing a chronic crisis for the past five years: a historic drought that has attracted national attention and radically reshaped how we think about water.

We have the opportunity now to learn from this current crisis. A 2014 study commissioned by the Texas Water Foundation finds that only 28 percent of Texans know where their water comes from; that’s the same percentage as in 2004, the last time the study was carried out. Faith communities can play an active role in educating Texans about water stewardship.

The good news is, our state has taken to heart lessons learned from past crises. The previous drought of record, which occurred between 1945 and 1955, was the catalyst for the foundation of the Texas Water Development Board. The drought of the 1950s, which nearly crippled the state’s agricultural industry, demonstrated to Texans that we needed to plan for our water resources on a statewide level in order to be better prepared for future drought.

In 1997, the Texas legislature dramatically reorganized the way our state plans for the future of our water. Senate Bill 1, enacted by the 75th Texas legislature, established sixteen water planning regions to allow for a more regionally-focused and responsive approach to water planning. These regions correspond roughly to major river basins in the state, and the planning groups are made up of industry, municipal, and conservation leaders.

What these planning groups need—and invite, as planning group meetings are open to public comment—is the input of the people they serve. For our state’s water planning process to be successful, we all need to be informed and engaged participants. This can take many forms, from serving on a regional planning group to simply learning where your tap water comes from.

People are much more likely to want to conserve a body of water when it’s one that they know. If we can educate ourselves and others about our water—where it comes from, where it goes, and how we can help protect it—then we are that much more likely to become active participants in the stewardship of our state’s natural resources, and help preserve it for generations to come.

 

From August 31 to Sept 2, Methodists from around the world met in Houston, Texas for the 21st World Conference of Methodists. This international body convenes every five years for fellowship, education, fun, and a little parliamentary work. The organizers provide numerous break-out sessions on issues ranging from healing and prayer to worship matters and community organization.   

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Sunday, June 26, 2016 at 6PM, our friends at Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church, Houston, are hosting a Conversations on Creation webinar featuring Whitney Milberger-Laird, a water resource and horticulture consultant. Whitney spent 10 years working in government as a natural resource specialist and conservationist and then moved to private sector consulting in 2013.

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Water Captains from Jacksonville and Nacogdoches met at the Nacogdoches Recreation Center on May 18th to attend the Region I Water Planning Group meeting. The volunteer water leaders had all attended earlier workshops and were well-versed in most of the major issues facing east Texas and its projected water supply.

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