Curriculum: Agriculture: Energy
& Environmental Technology [§
Texas Legacy site hosts a variety of educational curricula, lesson
plans, keys and ideas, and supporting media, including video,
databases, transcripts and other material. Below you can find
the TEKS Agriculture standards for Energy and
Environmental Technology, particularly Water and Wastewater
as described in section
119.22(c)(5), with relevant
activities drawn from this archive.
identifies water and wastewater use and management in all settings:
Excerpts of TEKS Text
(A) list the applications of water resource management;
Water and wastewater are central topics of discussion among
TexasLegacy.org narrators. The archive covers such topics
as water and wastewater use sectors (municipal, industrial,
agricultural and natural), management, pollution, and
Activities include lessons on competition among water uses,
out-of-basin transfers, water demand reduction, water source
diversification and decentralization, reconciliation of surface
and ground water regulation, flood control, and water quality
major goal of water resource management is to juggle the
competing uses of a limited resource, attempting to balance
wildlife needs with the wide variety of human uses, such as
municipal, industrial, and agricultural applications. Former
Texas Water Development Board director,
Joe Moore, Jr., explains the tension between human and
non-human water uses. Nacogdoches biologist
Daniel Lay explains how dams and other water development
for human uses can harm wildlife.
Another issue that water managers must address is
out-of-basin transfers, reflecting the growing distance
between where the water is and where the people are. Water
Stuart Henry explains this tension over storing and
exporting water from rural basins to growing, but dry, urban
Increasingly, a third goal is to reduce water
demand. As aquifers become overdrawn and new reservoir
sites dwindle, the focus has shifted from increasing supply to
making water use more efficient. San Antonio xeriscape
Fay Sinkin, explains how using drought-tolerant
landscaping can drastically reduce water use.
fourth water management goal is to diversify and decentralize
sources of water, away from the capital-intensive, long
lead-time and high
ecological-impact reservoirs. Sustainable building
Gail Vittori, talks about the promise of rainwater
collection systems to work as a local and low-impact water
fifth water supply challenge is to reconcile surface and
groundwater regulations. In Texas, we must deal with
the fact that surface water is regulated by the state,
while groundwater is very lightly controlled. Nevertheless
the two water resources are tightly connected, with many rivers
heavily influenced by springs that are fed by groundwater.
Fort Stockton farmer
John Carpenter lays out the dilemma, recalling how the
historic Comanche Springs dried up due to overpumping of its
aquifer by private irrigators.
sixth consideration for water managers is flood control.
Texas experiences some of the most intense rain events in the
world, and has suffered major floods with great loss of life and
property, such as Hurricane Rita. Houston stream advocate
Terry Hershey talks about the efforts to control this
damage, without harming our creeks and rivers.
last, but certainly critical, application of water resource management is to protect
and improve water quality. Surface water
quality challenges can include suspended silt (listen to Corpus
Johnny French), litter (see Rio Frio landowner
Susan Lynch), or toxic chemicals (learn from Laredo
Jim Earhart and
Tom Vaughan). Groundwater quality can be
compromised by common household and commercial chemicals ,
industrial solvents (see San Antonio airplane mechanic
Armando Quintanilla's remarks), or by more
exotic radioactive mining or waste pollution (watch the visits
with Kingsville social worker
Ben Figueroa or Dell City farmer
Jim Lynch). Fortunately, there are solutions:
please see former Brownsville mayor,
Nacho Garza, talk about surface water treatment efforts
in the Rio Grande, and see San Antonio hydrologist
George Rice's discussion about work to protect the
Edwards Aquifer's quality.
(B) identify urban and agricultural uses of water;
TexasLegacy.org narrators are ringside witnesses, and often
participants, in the struggle over water as Texas grows, urbanizes and
shifts away from an agricultural economy.
Agricultural use of water in Texas is still the largest sector,
with irrigation amounting to 60% of the water used in Texas in
2000. However, agricultural water use is expected to
decline by 12% over the next 50 years according to the Texas
Water Plan, with municipal uses taking up much of the balance.
In this scenario, there are many flashpoints for conflict over agricultural and municipal,
rural and urban,
in-basin and out-of-basin water uses. Please watch the
half-hour videos about these regional controversies over surface
Ripples on a Pond) and groundwater (see
Echoes from a Well).
As Johnson City rancher,
David Bamberger, reminds us, though, urban dwellers and
agricultural operators are inextricably linked through water.
Farm and ranch owners need to be good stewards of the watersheds
they control, yet the residents of the downstream cities need to
be prudent and efficient with the water that they use.
(C) define the parameters for wastewater management;
TexasLegacy.org participants notice the increasingly clear
bounds of wastewater management, as nature's assimilative
capacity is met and exceeded.
classic goal of wastewater management, as laid out in the Clean
Water Act, was for the U.S. to have "fishable and swimmable"
waters. Moving toward this overarching goal has required
many more detailed parameters and steps.
As examples, the archive includes discussion of legislative
efforts to reach that goal (see the excerpt from the interview
with Congressional aide
Keith Ozmore), the monitoring programs (watch the
Jim Earhart) and the enforcement process that
followed (see the piece with Houston attorney
(D) list causes and effects of non-point source pollution
associated with agriculture; and
TexasLegacy.org materials give many examples of non-point source
agricultural pollution, particularly those associated with
confined feeding operations.
There are a number of major issues for non-point source
pollution from agricultural operations discussed in the archive:
chemical runoff, bacteriological contamination,
and sheer organic wasteload. A new concern,
genetic pollution, is also an rising challenge for
agriculture. Examples follow.
Former Texas Agricultural Commissioner,
Jim Hightower, discusses the issues of chemical use in
agriculture. Fredericksburg rancher
Richard Sechrist explains the problems of E.Coli risk in
feedlot cattle. Panhandle farmer
Donnie Dendy and banker
Jeanne Gramstorff discuss the issues of odor, flies,
nitrates from CAFO (Confined Animal Feeding Operation)
cesspools. Austin attorney and Consumer Union director,
Reggie James, lays out the concern about genetic
pollution from pharmacological crops.
(E) review water use legislation.
Water supply law, both legislative and court-mandated, has been
a central focus for many of the conservationists in the
Echoes from a Well and
Ripples on a Pond, discuss the controversies that
underlay the pressure to pass SB 1 and SB 2, and subsequent
water legislation. For a tongue-in-cheek look at
the prior legislation, the Texas Water Plans of the 1960s and
1970s, watch Denton professor,
Pete Gunter, perform his song, Texas Water Plan
In some situations, the political logjam has been too great for
the Legislature to pass legislation, and so the courts
have had to take the lead on water law. That has been the
case with regulation of pumping from the Edwards Aquifer, as
discussed by Austin advocate,