TCEQ Misses Golden Water Conservation Opportunity on Lake Ralph Hall Permit

District's water conservation plan and program don't measure up: more like pyrite than real gold.

09-25-2013 // Lacey McCormick

Crystal River, Florida estuary

Statement of Myron Hess, Manager of Texas Water Programs/Counsel for the National Wildlife Federation:

"Today, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) voted to issue a permit for the proposed Lake Ralph Hall. Unfortunately, in issuing the permit, TCEQ missed a golden opportunity to advance water conservation in Texas. Many types of new water supply strategies are needed to meet the water needs of a growing Texas population, but, as the State Water Plan recognizes, none are more critical than using available supplies more efficiently.

"The National Wildlife Federation’s goal in participating in the hearing was not to defeat the permit but to urge TCEQ to hold the District to a high standard for water conservation. Under the Texas statute that governs water transfers, like this one, between river basins, TCEQ is required to ensure that the applicant has ‘developed and implemented a water conservation plan that will result in the highest practicable levels of water conservation and efficiency achievable within its jurisdiction.’ TCEQ failed to do that today. The Texas Legislature established a high bar—basically the gold standard for water conservation plans—for transfers like this. The District’s water conservation plan and program fall far below that standard: more like pyrite than real gold.

"Texas simply can’t meet its water needs without using every drop as efficiently as possible. Piping water around the state to be used wastefully is bad for all Texans. We can, and must, do better than that."




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