With water prices going up, rainwater collection may be best option for Texas

Drought and population increases force the reaction of water conservation since current supplies are not replenishing fast enough. Cities are scrambling to secure water rights, and have to charge customers enough to cover the costs associated with operating water and wastewater systems.

But costs to the average Texan will drastically increase even more as new water source supplies and conveyance systems are required just to turn on the faucets, something many here in the past couple of generations have never experienced. Water users will have to pay for the required water systems and the cost will be more drastic for those served by private providers.

For generations we have been able to get through drought with eventual rainfall and better management techniques. But the population increases and water uses of today dwarf the delivery needs of the 50’s when the last drought of this magnitude occurred.

The difference between adapting in present day Texas, and in other places worldwide that regularly experience water scarcity: rainwater collection is standard if not mandatory in those places, and government requirements for water pressure and cleanliness are not a factor. Rare are cisterns or rainwater systems in America unless in rural settings. Perhaps it is time for Texans to collect every drop of rain we can when possible?

For a variety of legitimate reasons (water system integrity, water pressure & water quality legal requirements as examples), we have regulated ourselves into a “no-win” scenario regarding conventional water supply availability and alternatives. Rainwater, for example, could supplement the demand for freshwater to an ever increasing population in Texas if it became common practice.

Due to perception of availability or common practice, treated water in particular is far underpriced. Costs associated with its regulated delivery are rarely understood by the average household and will almost certainly continue to be a source of consternation for elected officials tasked with reigning in the cost of government for their political survival, while being expected to produce efficient and swift water conveyance to all parts of the state.

Leadership cannot make it rain and unfortunately that is the first thing that needs to happen.

But they can address the second thing that needs to happen, establishing a standard for and encouraging rainwater collection statewide. It is something political leadership can do in preparation for when the “rainy days” do occur and the best sustainable defense against increasingly arid conditions in Texas.

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