Water Crisis - What's on tap
at Thursday's Water Crisis meeting?
(This CARD article will run in the Thursday, September 11, 2014 in the Wimberley View.)
People say the darndest things.
Blanco River in drought
The other day a few CARD members were handing out leaflets for the upcoming community water meeting 6 p.m. Thursday at the Community Center. "Would you like information on the Water Crisis meeting?" we asked a few hundred people. Some folks said yes, some no, and many asked questions.
But one confidently smiling lady left us momentarily speechless.
"I don't need to worry about water," she said happily, "I'm on a well."
By the time we recovered, she was gone but, really, what would you say to that? Perhaps, "Uh, even well water has to come from someplace."
Maybe it shouldn't be so surprising. After all, how many city folks do you know who think water just comes from a faucet, and never wonder how it got there or where it came from?
With longer droughts, lower creek and spring flows, ever greater water demand and a forecast of very rapid growth, we central Texans – most of us anyway - have become increasingly aware of the threat water shortages hold for our area. What happens, we need to ask, when the well runs dry, as many have in Hays County in recent years? Where will we get plentiful, clear water, how will we get it here, and how much will it cost? What can we do now to protect the water we have, and lessen the problem down the road?
To foster more discussion and understanding of the threat to our water supply, Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD) hosts a free community meeting, Water Crisis: Time To Get Serious!, 6-9:30 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 11) in the Wimberley Community Center, 14068 RR 12 in the heart of Wimberley. CARD, a local non-partisan, volunteer organization, is the sole host.
"Our citizens are concerned about the continued availability of clean water, and also about the increasing cost impact as we look at historic population growth and drought," said CARD water committee chair David Glenn. "CARD is hosting this meeting to help us all learn more about the water issues and the risks facing our community today and in the near future."
The Chat with Experts session, at 6 p.m., is an hour-long information fair for individuals and families looking for smarter and more efficient ways to use water in their own lives and homes. This is the "hands-on" part of the Water Crisis meeting, set in the Community Center lobby and meeting rooms. There will be six tables – all non-commercial (no one selling anything!). Table topics include:
- Household water conservation, with Brandon Leister from SAWS, the San Antonio Water System, nationally recognized for its progressive programs of water conservation.
- Xeriscaping/landscaping, on how to create beautiful yards and gardens with native plants and features that use little water, with local Texas AgriLife Extension Agent Richard Parrish.
- Lawns, with advice on what grasses grow well here naturally, and which have long erosion-resistant, soil-saving roots. With Del Hood of Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
- Rainwater collection, with help on small systems for a little garden or full home rain catchment, with Sanjeev Kalaswad and Bridget Cameron from the Texas Water Development Board.
- Saving energy saves water, presented by Blake Beavers, Joe Paramo and Diana Gonzales of Pedernales Electric Cooperative (P.E.C.)
Members of the Hays County Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists will be assisting at each table.
There will also be a table on the Cypress Creek Project, which promotes the importance of maintaining healthy spring and stream flows, including flow from Jacob's Well, with CCP's Matt Heinemann.
At 7 p.m. the meeting moves into the Center's auditorium to hear speakers on different aspects of the current and future water situation in our area. These include:
- Introduction to Texas and Hill Country Water: Andy Sansom, of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas State University. Sansom, a very familiar figure in this area, is also a former director the Texas Nature Conservancy and a former executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
- Yesterday's Water: Ray Whisenant, Hays County Commissioner, Precinct 4, whose career in the water industry covered the better part of four decades.
- Today's Water: Peter Newell, Austin-based Water Resources Engineer for HDR Engineering, where he works on water planning for Central Texas. Newell will discuss the situation with surface and aquifer water today, and plans for other sources in the future, as well as the role people play through their individual water-use decisions.
- Tomorrow's Planning: Bech Bruun, of the Texas Water Development Board, and Texas Environmental Flows Advisory Group, discusses how water planning is changing and ways of approaching funding.
- Innovative Water Solutions: Steve Clouse, COO of the San Antonio Water Systems, which has won praise for innovative approaches to water availability, discusses approaches such as conservation, brackish groundwater desalination and water re-use.
Members of the audience are invited to ask questions of the speakers, joined by Hays County Commissioner, Precinct 3, Will Conley, in the Speaker Panel session, from 9-9:30 p.m.
The free community meeting includes light refreshments – including water – and is open to all. For more information on CARD, please explore this website hayscard.org.