Living with drought as 'the new normal'

LARGE SOLAR PANELS, like the one being examined by Mike Renner of Azle, were among the unique projects on display this weekend at the 13th Annual Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair. Over two dozen speakers provided information on a variety of conservation topics during the three-day event on Marktplatz. — Standard-Radio Post/Matt Ward

Water conservation efforts among topics at annual Renewable Energy Roundup

By Matt Ward— With statewide drought conditions unlikely to change anytime soon, it is high time for Texans to begin taking water conservation more seriously, according to David Foster, one of the dozens of speakers at this weekend’s 13th Annual Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair on Marktplatz.

“This drought may be our new normal and that’s bad news,” Foster, who serves as state director for Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund, said. “The most important water conservation tool we have is the one between our ears. It’s really about our practices in everyday life. We need to change the culture toward water conservation and away from water waste.”

Conservation, he added, is the most affordable way for communities to meet future water needs.


Water demand on rise

According to the Texas Water Development Board’s 2012 Water for Texas state water plan, overall water demand is expected to increase by 22 percent over the next 47 years.

This smaller increase is primarily due to declining demand for irrigation water and increased emphasis on municipal conservation.

However, municipal demand, which is currently 27 percent of the total water demand, is expected to rise faster than other sectors, with the percentage of total water usage increasing to 38 percent by 2060.

Foster said that around $53 billion is expected to be invested in Texas for infrastructure to provide enough water to meet the state’s needs, with $27 billion slated for municipal use alone.

“We’re in a changing world. We’ve got more people and less water and we’ve got to do something,” he said. “About two weeks ago, state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said that the model suggests that by 2060, the average high temperatures in the summer will be five degrees higher than they are today.”

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