Consistent with the sustainability science approach that characterizes the foundation’s grantmaking, the Water program aims to increase the scientific understanding of water issues in Texas, which informs the design of effective policy approaches to ensure that water quantity and quality needs of both humans and the environment are met.
According to the 2012 State Water Plan, under certain conditions, Texas does not and will not have enough water to meet the needs of its people, its businesses, and its agricultural enterprises.
The plan does not consider the water needs of the environment, but it is clear that sufficient water to meet these needs would also not be available. The foundation takes the position that ensuring sufficient and clean water for both economic growth and the environment may be the most significant and urgent concern facing Texas in the next generation.
The ongoing drought that is now expected to last up to ten years by some estimates highlights the critical condition of Texas’s water resources. However, the foundation posits that even before the current drought began and even after it is over Texas has significant water challenges that threaten the well-being of the state.
Despite efforts like the State Water Plan, new funding resources for water projects, and other governmental endeavors intended to address growing water needs and constraints in Texas, many of the most difficult issues of water management remain unaddressed.
To address these water management challenges and ensure adequate water supplies for the environment in Texas, the Water program’s resources are deployed to
- define the “grand challenges” of water management and the scientific, policy, and legal investigations necessary to address intractable questions;
- increase water conservation in major Texas cities through urban water conservation programs and utility business model reform;
- protect water resources in the Texas Hill Country through landowner engagement and a science-based identification of the most critical water resources; and
- achieve water and energy savings through in-depth analysis and policy development related to the energy-water nexus.