By Ken Hodges
Water grows Texas for families, jobs and food. Tomorrow, Texans will make a decision on the future of this precious resource for the Lone Star State.
Proposition 6, if passed, will provide a funding mechanism to address Texas’ growing water needs in a fiscally responsible manner. Projects eligible for financial assistance must come from the 16 locally controlled Regional Water Planning Groups that cover the entire state.
Here are 10 reasons you should vote for Proposition 6:
1) Conservation: We can use the water we have and the rainfall we receive more wisely to help us meet other demands. Addressing leaks, evaporation, inefficient delivery and waste could reduce usage by 15 percent.
2) Responsible: Proposition 6 doesn’t pay for projects. Instead, it helps each project secure better financing terms. Proposition 6 allows more funds to be used to secure water instead of securing financing and paying higher interest rates. Proposition 6 expenditures will be repaid to the fund to facilitate future projects. This fiscally conservative aspect is crucial to accomplishing more, with less.
3) Taste: If freshwater supplies like aquifers diminish, even more reliance will be placed upon less desirable options like low-brackish or high-mineral water. While blending with other water can help, desalination can’t get rid of the bad taste all together.
4) Security: Most Texans feel a fundamental level of security knowing that when we turn on the tap, clear, drinkable water will flow. Having a sure water supply helps families and industries grow.
5) Future: Texans love Texas, as they should. Apparently, many people from other states and nations love Texas, too. Our population is steadily growing; only time will tell when we reach 40 million. We are already straining our water supplies, and Proposition 6 is needed to address the future needs of an even larger state.
6) Capture: Texas has historically suffered moderate to extreme droughts, although we are occasionally blessed with abundant rain that fills our streams, rivers and reservoirs. Proposition 6 can fund projects to deepen reservoirs, raise dam levels, capture stormwater in off-channel or underground reservoirs and even improve homeowner and business rainwater capture systems to make them more feasible.
7) Food and Fiber: Irrigated agriculture is an intensive user of the water needed to grow food and fiber to feed and clothe people. Irrigators don’t want to use any more water than absolutely necessary because of the costs associated with pumping. Proposition 6 can be used to facilitate improved irrigation systems saving water and helping farmers and ranchers stay profitable.
8) Claims: “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” With abundant ocean and other salty or brackish water supplies, Texas does not have to ever run out of water. However, desalination can be expensive, especially with high-salt content ocean water. Proposition 6 can soften the blow on large-scale desalinization efforts, helping us to lay claim to water that is already here.
9) Reclaim: Great improvements have been made already in reclaiming water that has already been used in our homes and industries. However, Proposition 6 can help fund even further efforts such as grey-water irrigation projects in and near large urban centers.
10) Decisions: Texas House Speaker Joe Straus has devoted a tremendous amount of time, effort and political capital to educate Texas voters about the importance of this election and the need for investment in our water supplies. Other elected officials have likewise been out front in spreading the word. Often, we as voters criticize officials for not including us in their decisions. This time they are bringing the decision to us. We owe it to be informed and involved in the election.
Tomorrow, Nov. 5 is Election Day. Texas Farm Bureau encourages you to “Vote Yes on Prop 6.”
Ken Hodges is associate Legislative director for Texas Farm Bureau.