Many cities experienced water shortages during the recent drought, and the population is expected to double within 35 years according to Katrina Matrich. She is a professional engineer, civil engineer and student in a special Luthern deaconess program.

This program, part of Texas Impact, is a lobbying organization striving for social justice for Muslims, Jews and Christians. Matrich specializes in her area of expertise, water planning.

Water is critical for life. We must have water to live. The crops we use and the animals we consume require water. Plants nurtured by water use photosynthesis to return oxygen to the air for us to breath.

Where do we get water and how do we use it? Surface water comes from the sky and lakes and makes up half of the usable water for us. Municipalities use 51 percent of the surface water, manufacturing uses 15 percent, 8 percent is used in power generation, and 22 percent goes to agriculture. Surface water is not reliable because the weather is not reliable. Of groundwater supplies, or aquifers, 72 percent is used for irrigation. Our northern Texas aquifers do not replenish themselves very efficiently. The Edwards Aquifer near Austin does replenish but faces high population growth.

Water planning reached a new high in 1955 with a drought covering the whole state. That is when many surface lakes including Lake Waxahachie were built. Organizations were set up by legislators to plan, conserve and prepare for future growth. After the 2013 drought, the Texas Water Development Board was set up for conservation and to plan for responsible development. All types of water users are represented on the Board. Ellis County is in Region C.

Matrich recommended attending their meetings, volunteering and maybe in the future joining the Board. Projects scheduled for Waxahachie include dredging Lake Waxahachie, conservation, new water lines and more.

Matich provides presentations for groups who may become active in some way in our water planning. To contact her, email kmartich@texasinterface.org or visit the group’s website at www.texasimpact.org.