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One Water to Rule Them All

RECEIVED Fri., March 1, 2024

Dear Editor,
    In a previous letter to the editor ["Save Roy Creek," Feedback, Feb. 23], the Mirasol Springs project, along the Pedernales River near where it is crossed by Hamilton Pool Road, is asserted to be in “West Austin,” and it is claimed the draw on local groundwater would threaten “the well-being of fellow Austinites and the place we call home.” Indeed water usage there can be called to question, but to pose it as an “Austin” problem strains credulity. It’s a Hill Country problem. The situation is reviewed on the Waterblogue at [waterblogue.com], setting forth a “One Water” scheme, a water infrastructure model that would drastically reduce draw on the area’s water supplies. The 27-million-gallon annual usage that previous letter asserted is 83 acre-feet per year, but as the Waterblogue reviews, demand on local sources could be way below that, by basing a goodly portion of water supply on building-scale rainwater harvesting, with reclaimed “waste” water fulfilling a large portion of, maybe even all, irrigation demands. Using the “One Water” scheme – husbanding all the water that flows through our communities – for water supply, “waste” water management, and storm water management would be more fiscally reasonable for the developer while saving a whole lot of water for society and significantly blunting water quality degradation. This could be a real “One Water” showcase, an opportunity to actually set, as the developer claims in the banner of its “vision” page, a “new standard for environmentally focused Hill Country development.” Rather than just greenwashing a very conventional set of practices, which is where this project is currently heading. We can, and should, do better to preserve and protect the Hill Country water environment. Please consider how you can advocate for them to go with the “One Water” scheme instead. Thank you.
David Venhuizen, P.E.
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