Anyone that knows me well knows that I talk a lot about “natural solutions.” Whether that’s about personal health, agriculture, animal welfare or the environment in general. And because of that, I typically point to conservation.

It comes down to changing public opinion and our actions. Whether or not you are a believer in climate change and global warming, you cannot deny that there are more people tapping into Earth’s natural resources. The strategies that supported us in the 1950’s aren’t going to help us now that we have another 4.5 billion people on the planet. We are already compromising resource quality and quantity in agriculture and food production–and our water supplies.

On Earth Day earlier this week the Influence Opinions team made it to the Texas Tribune‘s Trib Live: A Conversation About the Environment. Not surprisingly, water rose to be the consistent theme for the event.

Laura Huffman, Director of the Nature Conservancy of Texas, said the single most important thing in her opinion is the protection of water. It is a critical piece to our society that is the foundation of:

  • Growth in our urban areas,
  • Energy and industry, and
  • Agriculture business in the state.

Right now, water issues are dominating in Texas in a way they haven’t since the dust bowl. In fact, some areas in west and south Texas are expected to run short of water this summer. Texas summers aren’t getting any cooler or wetter and cities need to think about year-round ordinances that restrict water use.

Anytime water is an issue, so is energy. Water tends to be the most expensive ingredient in energy production, even before you add in the energy needed to transport water. And it takes a lot of energy to transport water. So, we can’t just talk about the amount of water we are using, we also need to talk about the entire system including water quality and the affect our decisions have on the environment.

The good news is that water conversation in Texas looks like it is catching on. Recently, the Texas House passed H.B. 4 to take $2 billion from the rainy day fund to finance the Texas Water Development Board‘s conservation projects to make water use more efficient in the state, a first for Texas, though San Antonio has proven that a large, thirsty Texas city can transform its water use through conservation.

Brian Shaw, Chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), said they are trying to be proactive by working with sister agencies to identify water supplies that are in trouble, particularly those that are reliant on surface water or groundwater.

Obviously, this is a state-wide conversation, but to do your part this week in celebration of Arbor Day and Earth Day remember conservation is our cheapest and most environmentally sound option and pledge to conserve water and energy this summer.

– Lauren