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Forum lays out 'Road map' for tackling Texas' looming water needs

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
March 24, 2015

Texas Water Technology Roadmap Forum

The Texas Water Technology Roadmap Forum has released a report outlining potential strategies for addressing Texas' future water needs, which, if left unaddressed, could result in dire consequences for the state.

The forum, held Feb. 25, was convened by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and STAR Park at Texas State University, AccelerateH2O, the Water Institute of Texas at the University of Texas at San Antonio and RCN-CE3SAR, a research consortium led by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

The complete report may be found at www.texaswatertech.org.

The invitation-only forum gathered representatives from business, industry, government, academia, investment and research, who concluded that Texas is rapidly approaching a water crisis reflecting issues of supply, use and quality which demands immediate effort to ensure sustainable and equitable access. Participants identified critical problems in Texas’ water sectors and expressed concern over consequences to Texans and the Texas economy if action is delayed.

"Surely one of the key ingredients in a recipe for addressing Texas’ mounting water problems is the urgent need to bring innovative water technology to the marketplace and into the system," said Andrew Sansom, director of The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. "This document, which was produced by some of the brightest minds in Texas, lays out a road map for making that possible."

The forum report focuses on a pathway to help solve Texas’ water problems and speed water technology from lab, to market, to application. Specific strategies suggested to address problems include:

  • Development of a cyberinfrastructure for information sharing
  • Creation of a water technology demonstration and pilot project test beds
  • An inventory of technology assets
  • Mapping of existing and promising water-related technologies

The most challenging underlying problem was that the water arena lacks a functional system supporting innovation. Investors do not have a full understanding of the current market environment which is perceived as lacking a market-related pricing mechanism for water, introducing higher than acceptable investor risk. A clear pathway to market is lacking due to a high degree of regulation, industry fragmentation and the generally conservative nature of resource providers lacking a broad cadre of early adapters.

The forum was underwritten by a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation and supported by The Meadows Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Texas Research and Technology Foundation.