Future of Water in Texas Remains Hopeful

(Photo of Lake Travis via Wikimedia Commons)
As summer approaches and Texas prepares for another possible drought season — one environmental group says the state could save billions of gallons of water.

Talya Tavor is the Houston representative for the group Environment Texas.

A few yards behind her, Buffalo Bayou winds its path along Allen Parkway.

Tavor says state lawmakers know there is a crisis regarding the long-term water supply in Texas. Her group's report suggests the state could save 500 billion gallons of water a year through conservation.

"If we don't deal with our water issues and our water needs right now, we won't be able to continue on the practices that we are doing. We won't be able to have the agricultural capacities. We won't be able to have the industrial capacities that we do right now because of such a high demand of water."

The report, Keeping Water in Our Rivers, outlines recommendations at the state, municipal and individual levels. The suggestions include incentivizing water-efficient practices, drought-resistant landscaping, and requiring some industries like the fracking business to use recycled water.

Tavor says if these practices are put into place now, the state could save enough water by the year 2020 to meet the needs of 9 million Texans.

"But wasteful water use in Texas remains common. New residential landscaping often requires extensive watering to maintain. Cracked municipal water main leaks billions of gallons of water a year. And oil, gas and fracking companies consume fresh water for oil and gas production, recycling very little of it."

Environment Texas will share its report with city and state  leaders, but they say much of the problem can be addressed  by residents who make changes to their water use habits.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...