Known for its picturesque views of gently rolling hills and pristine, spring-fed waterways, the Texas Hill Country is no longer a secret as the region’s popularity — and population — grows.

The clash between the state’s growth and its water issues is hard to ignore there, as both native and transplant residents are looking for homes in Central Texas faster than the housing stock can keep pace.

Meanwhile, by 2070, Texas is projected to face a water shortage that could add up to an estimated $153 billion in annual economic losses statewide, according to the Texas Water Development Board.

As homebuilders head for the hills, environmental advocates are pushing to see development proceed in an eco-conscious manner that protects the area’s natural water resources and wildlife.

How exactly to strike that balance is the subject of a panel discussion hosted by the San Antonio Report on Wednesday, May 31. The event will be held at the Phil Hardberger Park Urban Ecology Center and also will be livestreamed. The live event begins at 11:30 a.m. and the livestream starts at noon. To purchase tickets to attend the event in person or to register for the livestream, click here.

Participating in the discussion will be Amy Hardberger, director of the Texas Tech University School of Law’s Center for Water Law and Policy and trustee of the San Antonio Water System; Katherine Romans, executive director of the Hill Country Alliance; Roland Ruiz, general manager of the Edwards Aquifer Authority; Andra Wisian, Kendall County Precinct 2 Commissioner; and Charlie Hill, president and chief operations officer of Boerne-based developer DH Investments.

They will discuss water security in Central Texas, responsible development practices, the state’s explosive growth, changing weather conditions and legislative gaps in protecting the state’s water resources.

“Conversations about water and land management often pit big cities against smaller cities or rural areas — and in truth, each is not independent of the other,” Hardberger said. “Decisions about development and land management have far-reaching impacts. Lack of understanding and coordination will cause significant challenges for the whole region.”

Lindsey Carnett covers the environment, science and utilities for the San Antonio Report.