Experts: Conservation the Key to Future Texas Water Needs

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Since the summer of 2011, Texas has been faced with a drought that not only harmed wildlife but reduced our recreational opportunities and damaged our water supplies. By 2012 the drought conditions marginally improved, but the state's population continues to grow, causing the demand for water to increase daily.

At a press conference held Tuesday, experts said a judge ruled the state of Texas had violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to provide for sufficient flows of water in the Guadalupe River.

Conservation could save 500 billion gallons of water, enough to meet the municipal needs of nine million Texans, according to a new Environmental Texas Research and Policy Center report.

"In every sector of water use, new technologies and better management practices can enable us to get more out of a gallon of water," said Tayla Tavor, Houston organizer for the Environmental Texas Research and Policy Center. "We can't control when it rains, but we can control water."

The report also calculated the water-saving potential in increasing the use of drought-tolerant landscaping and renewable energy efficiency.

"Take a stand in your own community by educating those around you with your beautiful landscape that demonstrates the joy of keeping water where it falls," said Dustin Brackney, founder of the local Houston landscaping organization Hydroscapes. "I have seen firsthand how beautiful and effective these approaches to conservation in landscaping can be."

Experts also said there are existing models for conservation in Texas. The city of Arlington uses electronic leak detection to identify leaks in broken water mains equal to 5 percent of the water flowing through its system. Additionally, through the use of wind energy, Texas is currently saving enough water to meet the needs of 130,000 Texans.

"This is one of the most important issues that Texas can be dealing with right now...We're in this drought [and] we have been in it for a long time," Tavor said. "You can see the impacts across the state. We won't be able to have the high agricultural capacities that we have right now because of a high demand of water."

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