July 15, 2011

It was a roomful of master gardeners and naturalists, area farmers and ranchers, builders business and agency leaders and a few simply interested residents who want to ensure that when their grandkids get thirsty there’ll be clean water to drink.

Sponsored by the Temple Economic Development Corp. and hosted by Texas AgriLife Extension, the Texas Watershed Steward Program at the Frank W. Mayborn Civic and Convention Center on Thursday was a free, one-day educational training designed to engage and equip people with general and technical knowledge regarding watersheds, water quality and steps to keep waterways and aquifers safe and clean.

“Water is the most coveted of our resources,” said Jennifer Peterson, extension specialist. “Without it we simply can’t survive. That’s not hyperbole. That’s life, black and white.”

Peterson and her colleagues steered a workshop to educate participants in how water sources can be contaminated, the agencies that govern water quality and how to work together locally to ensure that quality.

“I didn’t realize we had so many folks interested in water,” said John Mayer, Clearwater

Underground Water Conservation District director. “If we could just lasso one-third of the people who care about keeping our water here and safe and clean, we could really get a plan going.”

The skinny is that water sources and humans are interconnected, so if we’re to keep water available and clean while our population climbs, more people need to be aware of how human activity affects water quality.

“What happens in Temple doesn’t stay in Temple,” Peterson said. “Everything is connected. What you do ultimately impacts the Gulf of Mexico, and people above you affects you.”

By 2060, the Texas population is expected to more than double, reaching 46 million residents. At the same time, available water for Texans is shrinking. A statewide plan to develop rights to more water, and conserve what we already have, is under way. But without its successful implementation, 85 percent of the state’s population in 50 years won’t have enough water.

Temple includes six watersheds within its city limits, all of which drain into the Leon or Little rivers. About 40 percent of the city is identified as grassland, 20 percent as urban and the remainder a mix of various uses.

Did You Know?

• Texas contains 191,000 miles of streams and rivers

• Most Americans use between 50 and 80 gallons of water a day

• 90 percent of world’s Fresh water is locked in Antarctic ice

• Two-thirds of the human body is composed of water

• There’s only one natural lake in Texas – Caddo Lake. The other 6,700 are manmade.

• The longest river in Texas is the Rio Grande River at 1,896 miles. The Brazos River runs 840 miles through the state, and 1,280 in total.

• California and Texas are the biggest water users in the country, with California using a quarter of the nation’s water.

• There are about 325 million trillion gallons of water on Earth. That’s 325 followed by 18 zeroes.

• A typical person who lives 70 years will use 1.5 million gallons in his or her lifetime, enough to fill 2.3 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

• An average person needs at least two quarts of water each day.

• Less than 1 percent of all water is available fresh-water. The rest is in the ocean or locked in the polar ice caps.

• Texas animals produce 220 billion pounds of waste annually, 90 percent from cattle. Dogs produce 4.4 billion pounds annually in the United States. Much of that waste runs into streams and lakes, carrying with it potentially harmful bacteria.

• Texas has 13.3 million acre-feet of surface water, enough to cover Rhode Island under 13 feet of water, and another 3 to 4 billion acre-feet in aquifers.


About Temple:
Temple, Texas is a community with a diverse economic base that includes healthcare, distribution and warehousing, and manufacturing as the foundation. Within 180 miles of a population of 17.8 million, Temple is in a strategic location that is central within the southwest U.S. marketplace.