DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Water availability is on the minds of the City Council: During Wednesday’s briefing, they’ll begin looking at updating the city’s long-range water plans with new reservoirs and conservation efforts.

“Water is absolutely critical, it’s one of the key elements of infrastructure,” said Professor Mike Davis, an economics professor at SMU’s Cox School of Business.

On Wednesday, councilmembers will hear how water is key to economic growth. Dallas has enough water to meet demands through 2035, city officials say.

With the 2010 U.S. Census results in, the council is being asked to gaze out to 2070.

“People can’t survive, you can’t have homes,” Davis said. “You can’t have industry unless you have access to clean water. It’s something we take for granted but it’s absolutely essential.”

Dallas has six reservoirs to pool from and more are on the drawing board. Most reside in East Texas, where annual rainfall is heavier.

But construction is expensive and takes time. Meanwhile, conservation and re-use is being urged.

Recycling water at industrial car washes is one way. Much water in North Texas goes to landscaping.

Most golf courses use well or raw water from creeks. But at Dallas’ Cedar Crest and Stevens Park courses, recycled “gray” water makes fairways green; and it’s cheaper.

“It’s less expensive, by a significant factor – recycled water is – because the demand for it is not that great,” Dallas Parks Director Paul Dyer said.

The Cedar Crest experiment began giving dividends right away, saving more than 81 million gallons of water in the first partial year of its use in 2005.

“We are a paying customer for Dallas Water Utilities like everyone else, so we look at it like what’s the lowest delivery per unit of golf or round of soccer. So we have to figure in everything we do, including the consumption of water,” Dyer said. “As we’ve been developing our golf courses and soccer complexes we’ve been looking for alternative water sources.”

Golfers seem to appreciate the “green” approach to greens and fairways.

“I’m in the Army,” said Lucius Thompson, “and we use gray water for recycling certain things that we use it for. So, it’s a good idea, it’s a good way of conserving water. Dallas’ Parks Department also delivers recycled water to the Dallas Zoo and is looking for ways to add the process to nourish the city’s many soccer fields as well.”

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