March 6, 2008
Tuesday night – very exciting, very stressful.At the start, we were behind – it was clearly theirs to lose. Lots of new folks were there throughout, and the crowds were big and loud.As time went on, we seemed to catch up. Then they took back the lead. And at the very end, it was literally tied.Finally, with less than thirty seconds left, Austin High scored and won its varsity lacrosse game over Bowie. The final was 8-7, with Austin High taking 53.3% of the total score.What did you think I was talking about?
When it comes to water, Texas has to actually become a conservative state.I gave a talk about water a couple of weeks ago to the Colorado River Foundation. The river – like water in general, really – is such a big part of our lives in Central Texas that we might tend to take it for granted. But we need to figure out strategies for protecting our rivers and lakes around the state. That kind of planning is going to be a big part of what I’m doing to get ready for the legislative session (remember those?) next year.To begin with, cities and regions need to do a better job of talking with each other about their water plans – particularly when they’re using the same water supply. For example, San Antonio and cities in Williamson County are looking at obtaining Colorado River water, which most of the Austin area relies on, even though they’re technically located in different regions.We need to create more opportunities to work with our neighbors, make sure everyone has the water they need, and preserve this resource for future generations. We also rely more than ever on the lakes themselves. They’re an asset – for our economy, recreation, and quality of life – independent of the role they play in providing water for drinking or flushing. They’re part of the reason people want to live in Central Texas.So we can’t just drain the lakes to satisfy thirst – we have to preserve them. That means finding new, sustainable, environmentally friendly supplies, and using technology and common sense to reduce our demand.All Texans need to be far more conscious of how we use and abuse water. But more than that, we’re going to need to invest in technologies that conserve water in every setting – from farms and ranches to subdivisions to skyscrapers. For example, we need to manage our land so that rivers aren’t being sucked up by cedar trees, but instead are flowing freely.Those advances will be a lot cheaper than trying to rustle up some water the next time there’s a brutal drought.This is one of those challenges that you can do a lot about in your own house. Start with Water IQ, a great web site that Austin, the Lower Colorado River Authority, and other agencies put together to help people conserve water.