Civic leaders, investors and water experts gathered to discuss urgent issues and new ideas for managing and conserving water in New Braunfels at the Greater New Braunfels Economic Development Foundation's quarterly luncheon April 30.

The panel discussion, hosted at the McKenna Events Center in New Braunfels, was led by:How did we get here?

Kelso highlighted various factors contributing to the present state in water management and conservation, including:
  • Historical water-planning initiatives
  • Regulatory measures
  • Infrastructure developments
  • Evolving environmental considerations
Ruiz mentioned the establishment of the Edwards Aquifer Authority over 25 years ago, which introduced regulatory programs and permitting systems to ensure resource sustainability.

Kelso says that NBU updates the population projections once every five years to make sure that they are keeping up with the growth of the city and are ahead of any setbacks.

“The thing with water planning is you can't play on a time-type delivery approach,” Kelso said. “These are big projects and water supplies that you must lock in for many decades in advance.”

What's next?

The current situation regarding water management and conservation in New Braunfels is characterized by a delicate balance between water supply availability and increasing demand, exacerbated by prolonged drought conditions and climate variability, the panelists said.

Looking ahead, the panelists said there is need for continued collaboration, innovation and adaptation in water management practices to navigate future uncertainties and challenges.

One of the goals is to be “conservation-centric,” Kelso said, and to drive down demand for the water to make existing supplies last longer.

“The cheapest water that we can purchase is water that we don't have to buy,” Kelso said.

Key focus areas for future action, Nichols said, include:
  • Further diversification of water supply sources
  • Implementation of conservation strategies
  • Investment in infrastructure resilience
Ruiz stressed the importance of long-term planning and proactive measures to address emerging threats, such as climate change impacts and population growth pressures.

The role of public education and engagement in promoting water conservation behaviors and fostering a culture of sustainability within the community is needed for change, Nichols said.