News Digest - December 1, 2022

  • A boil water notice was sent out to Houston residents last Sunday after two transformers at Houston’s East Water Purification Plant went offline. All Houston schools, offices, and facilities closed until the notice was lifted about 36 hours later on Tuesday, November 29.
  • The city of Houston is planning to double its annual spending on water line repairs after nearly 20 billion gallons of water has been lost from January to August this year. This week, the City Council approved $21 million in emergency purchases relating to water infrastructure as ongoing drought conditions put pressure on the aging pipe systems.
  • The winter report from ERCOT states that the Texas grid is still vulnerable to extreme winter weather, especially if the grid experiences a very high demand for power. ERCOT considered three scenarios for this winter, each based on the conditions of the February 2021 winter storm, and every scenario shows the grid operator would need to ask Texans to cut back on electricity usage. One scenario shows that if extreme conditions combine with power plant outages and low wind power production, the grid could face rolling blackouts.
  • Water recycling technology from the International Space Station is being used to help solve water scarcity issues in the American west. The station’s Water Processing Assembly, which is used to reclaim every drop of moisture possible to process it into potable water, can produce up to 36 gallons of drinkable water every day from the crew’s sweat, breath and urine.
  • This week's TWDB drought map shows a decreasing area of the state impacted by the drought for the fourth consecutive week. Conditions improved in East Texas but intensified in some areas of Central Texas.

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