Environment Texas Research and Policy Center Comments on the 2016 Region K Initially Prepared Plan (IPP)

As a part of the public comment period of the Region K Initially Prepared Regional Water Plan, Environoment Texas Research and Policy Center had the opportunity to submit comments to Region K water planners. We would like to thank Jennifer Walker, and the entire Texas Living Waters team, for their leadership and partnership in preparing their original Region K comments and sharing them with regional water conservation coalition partners.

Below are the comments submitted to Region K water planners on behalf of Environment Texas Research and Policy Center:

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the Initially Prepared Region K water plan. While I appreciate what Region K has already done, both in the past and in the current draft of the 2016 proposed plan to promote water conservation, I offer the following comments to avoid a plan that causes environmental damage to Texas’ rivers, forests and other sensitive natural areas and makes insufficient use of water efficiency and conservation.

(1) The Region K plan should only include water projects that help meet the projected water shortages in the region. We should not include any plans that are in excess of our projected water needs.

(2) The population is growing, the climate is changing and the drought is likely to return. As a result, Region K planners should be focused on developing stronger water conservation strategies, not weaker. I recommend that Region K use the water conservation strategy from the 2012 Region K plan. This is in line with state recommendations and many cities across Texas have shown that this is feasible.

(3) To create a truly comprehensive water plan, the Region K planners must find a way to account for and plan for the water that will be needed to maintain the environmental flows that are necessary for the health of our wildlife, including plants and fish. The Colorado River and its tributaries connect all the communities in Region K and are an essential part of our fabric. Without healthy rivers and streams, our entire region is less healthy. As this region continues to grow and water demands increase this is even more urgent. Please find a way to address this hole in the planning process.

I respectfully request that you consider the above comments in order to develop a regional water plan that prioritizes conservation and the health of our ecosystem and our economy over the development of unnecessary projects.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the 2016 Region K IPP.

Sincerely,

Sara E. Smith, JD

Staff Attorney

Environment Texas