The National Wildlife Federation and the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club have created a splash with their latest report: Drop by Drop: 7 Ways Texas Cities Can Conserve Water.
Austin should be proud. Out of 19 cities studied in this report, our capital city was highly ranked on outdoor water ordinances and has an aggressive toilet replacement program. San Antonio has also set the bar high for effective and diverse water efficiency programs across the country. The cities surveyed were measured on: water pricing structure, water saving goals, toilet replacement, conservation funding, and outdoor watering. Though many cities and towns across the nation have made great strides to reduce water use, the report’s conclusion is that most cities are not doing as much as they could to efficiently use existing water supplies.
“The best and cheapest source of water is the one that’s already on tap,” said Ken Kramer, state director of the Sierra Club. “The key measure of success for any water conservation program is reducing water use on a per person basis and we recognize that takes time. In this report, we looked at some measures cities can be using right now to see if they are moving in the right direction. Our review makes it clear that while a handful of cities are working to maximize their water-use efficiency, most cities are doing little to make the best use of existing water supplies.”
As stated in the video Drop by Drop, both population increase and climate change are significant players in the reason behind our rapid water depletion. The population of Texas is expected to more than double by the year 2060, and the municipal and agriculture water demand will increase with it (Texas Water Development Board). What does this mean? It means that as consumers of water we have a responsibility to be aware of what we can do to conserve and how to hold our city accountable.
How to start? (1) Read the study; it is user friendly; (2) share it with your family, friends, and co-workers; and (3) act on it. Be a part of the ripple that will conserve our water. Don’t watch it go down the drain.
By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.