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Editor's Letter - May 2014


On the Subject of Water

by Ellen H. Brisendine

Every May, we focus our editorial content in The Cattleman publications on the subject of water. In or out of drought, there is a constant tension about water use in Texas and the Southwest. People keep coming to our region. Cities and towns want and need the water the country has.

Fortunately, we have members in our Cattle Raisers community who are knowledgeable about the facets of water use.

Consider the use of water in mineral extraction. TSCRA Director Jay Evans, Austin, has been deeply involved in helping to develop voluntary conservation practices (VCPs) to be used in the oilfield. Contributor Lorie Woodward Cantu discusses VCPs with Evans in the feature article, "Lessons from the Eagle Ford in Communication, Cooperation and Conservation." She writes, "The VCPs are not 'pie in the sky' ideals but rather practices that have actually been implemented on ranches in oilfield settings."

Les Nunn, TSCRA member from Paul's Valley, Okla., provides an analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its Clean Water Act in our Ranching department this month. He says, "The Clean Water Act passed by Congress started out with good intentions. The desire was to prevent chemical and other pollution of rivers and navigable streams by giving the EPA certain authority to force industries and people to literally 'clean up' their acts and stop polluting the rivers.

"That was a long time ago, and the EPA has dramatically expanded its hold by increasing what 'waters of the United States' are, thereby giving itself more jurisdiction."

Every month, we call on our members to provide us with their practical experience and insights into various issues of importance to ranching. TSCRA is fortunate to have within its membership some of the leading thinkers in agriculture, conservation and natural resources management. Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us.

Conversations: "On the Subject of Water" is from the May 2014 issue of The Cattleman magazine.