Climate And Water: Planning For A Changing Resource

Nov 13, 2017

The state’s expanding population, coupled with more extreme flooding events and drought cycles, is creating short-term management challenges and long-term planning uncertainty. We rely on prevailing climate patterns to plan for development, agriculture, and ranching, but those patterns are changing.

On Thursday, November 9, the Texas Water Symposium opened its tenth season on the campus of Schreiner University in Kerrville by directly addressing for the first time the topic of climate change with a panel of scientists, agriculture experts and researchers.

Hear the full panel discussion in the audio link below.

Moderator: Weir LaBatt, Former Director of the Texas Water Development Board Panelists:

  • Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist and Regents Professor at Texas A&M
  • John Zeitler, Science & Operations Officer, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • Suzanne Scott, GM, San Antonio River Authority; Chairperson, Region L Water Planning Group and Guadalupe-San Antonio Basin and Bay Stakeholder Committee
  • Bill Neiman, Manager, Native American Seed Farm, Junction

EXCERPTS

Bill Neiman, Native Seed Farm:

Bill Neiman, Native Seed Farm, in conversation.
Credit Nathan Cone / Texas Public Radio

I decided I didn't want to wait for the EPA... I completely immersed myself in climate and weather. I've done a lot of different things ... to adapt to the changes. We produce and harvest native prairie seeds. And if we were to run this thing down to just really the overriding theme, "water..." well, 70 percent of our drinking water in the urban areas goes to watering landscapes in the state of Texas. 

 

Suzanne Scott, San Antonio River Authority

The water planning process is based on planning for the drought of record. The process looks at how much water you would need if the drought of record would return. And based on population projections, you have more people, more demand, we run it through the models and we see what you would need. 

Droughts will probably be more severe and last longer. And floods will be more severe and have more volume and devastation. So how do you plan for both sides of that equation?