Conservation, Herff Farm
Lecture Series Informs the Future of Water￼
by Ben Eldredge
For over 34 years, the Cibolo Land & Water Initiative has focused on protecting water quality and biodiversity throughout the Upper Cibolo Watershed, providing stewardship, education, research, and leadership. This work is crucial because Cibolo Creek delivers over one million daily gallons into the Trinity and Edwards aquifers.
On Saturday, October 29th, you can join us and our friends with the Cibolo Preserve by becoming a part of the conversation at the next Lende Lecture Series: The Future of Water. Named after the Cibolo’s longtime friend, Bill Lende, the lecture series is back and focused on tackling this critical issue by hearing from you and our panelists. This year we will host Dr. Robert Mace, Executive Director & Chief Water Policy Officer at The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, and Dr. Michael H. Young Sr., Research Scientist, Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin.
The Texas Water Development Board expects Texas’ water supply and demand to diverge steadily over the next 50 years. We must work together to ensure we provide, protect, and preserve this precious natural resource. The Cibolo Center for Conservation has been working with partners to elevate our region’s conservation, collaboration, and collective water management. We are pleased to bring together some of the state’s experts on research and data collection for water while sharing more about our partnership with the City of Boerne to create the Boerne Water Data Hub, the first municipal hub developed as part of the Internet of Water.
Where will the water come from to serve all the growth in Boerne and the surrounding area? Many of our treasured Texas Hill Country communities are asking this same question, and the Cibolo Center for Conservation has focused on this issue. Your attendance is essential and appreciated as we discuss the next steps our community can take to protect the future of water further.
Water protection and working on water policy are not new at the Cibolo. Our longstanding research monitoring water quality and quantity and biological indicators of stream health provide the data we use to inform and support the city, county, and private landowners seeking to protect water sources.
Leveraging our research and knowledge of water stewardship, we encouraged the adoption of stream setback requirements and Low Impact Development in Boerne, considered some of the best in the state. These requirements safeguard ecosystem services provided by healthy streamside habitats and ensure that trash and pollutants are filtered out of stormwater before reaching Cibolo Creek and the recharge zone.
Creating an Internet of Water
We stand on the principle that water data must be the driver of decisions that ensure the sustainability of our regional water supplies. However, water data is often scattered and not easily accessible to those who need it to inform practices and policies. To ensure that our community has the information it needs to drive decisions about water, the Cibolo Center for Conservation launched the Boerne Internet of Water initiative in partnership with the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. This initiative has created the Boerne Water Data Hub, a public dashboard that will allow community stakeholders at all levels to access water data to inform decisions for years to come.
The Cibolo facilitated community focus groups and partnered with the City of Boerne to ensure that many stakeholders’ voices contributed to this resource’s creation. We will discuss this at the Lende Lecture on Saturday, October 29th.
The Boerne Internet of Water project has also attracted the attention of the Texas Water Development Board, which has invited our team to inform a new Texas Water Data Initiative. Through this project, we are supporting efforts to translate water data so that it informs decision-makers and the public at regional and municipal levels, where most water management decisions are made. The Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office has also taken note of the project and is eager to promote our Boerne Internet of Water project throughout the state.
With this momentum, we are ideally positioned to promote Boerne as a community conservation model that embraces innovative solutions to protect water and our other natural resources, providing an enhanced quality of life for people throughout Texas.
Please RSVP for the Lende Lecture Series to email@example.com, held on Saturday, October 29th, from 2 pm – 4 pm in the Gathering Hall at Herff Farm. You read more about our water initiatives and more at www.cibolo.org.