Houston takes steps to prevent major water shortage

March 8, 2011 4:55:37 PM PST
It's something you probably don't think about when you turn on your shower or run the dishwasher, but our area is growing so fast that experts predict the city of Houston could run out of drinkable water in the future. The mayor is taking action now to make sure that doesn't happen.

No one would argue that water is one of our most precious resources, but there are those who believe if something isn't done soon to secure the city's share of it, Houston could one day go thirsty.

"It's a zero-sum game. There is a finite supply of water," said Mayor Annise Parker.

But coming up with a long-term solution to secure Houston's drinking water that makes both environmental groups and the city happy hasn't been easy. Environmentalists were concerned about the makings of a potential catastrophe caused by draining too much fresh water out of our rivers and what discharging too much treated water might do to the delicate ecosystem of Galveston Bay.

But after seven years, both parties appear to have reached common ground.

"Both sides can now say we worked these issues out. The environmental groups can withdraw their prior protests and we can go to TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) and have our applied permits issued," said Dan Krueger, Director of Houston Public Works.

Water rights are a big deal in Texas. It's like the gold rush of the 21st century and that's what makes this deal so significant. As growing cities upstream from Houston continue to stake their claim to water, Houstonians can be rest assured the state's largest city won't be left high and dry.

"We're doing the right thing for the city, but we're also doing the right thing for the environment, and it's possible to put those two pieces together," said Mayor Parker.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality still needs to approve the deal.