CREDIT: AP / Eric Gay
Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) is an unabashed ideologue. But sometimes even ideologues have to address practical matters practically.
Thus it is that Perry finds himself in the middle of the aisle for once, in support of something with widespread bipartisan political backing in Texas. It’s not about freedom or liberty, but another very important life-giving element: water.
This year, Perry signed three bills meant to provide funding for projects within the State Water Plan. Taken together, these bills propose an amendment to the Texas Constitution creating the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas, or SWIFT.
With these bills Perry and other Texas politicians are showing they can do the math for the state’s future: water = economy. If Texas wants to keep attracting new business, it will have to keep providing ample water to keep companies and people moving to the state. Currently the state’s population is expected to soar about 80 percent from its current 25 million to 46 million in 50 years, with water demand projected to increase 22 percent.
At the same time, Texas is caught up in a cycle of drought, which has left reservoirs strained and rivers over-allocated. Another indicator of the high stakes in this game of water security is the fact that Texas is embroiled in legal battles over water rights with neighboring New Mexico, Oklahoma, and even Mexico.
Harsh water restrictions are currently in place from Midland, the heart of the current oil boom, to San Antonio. Earlier this month water officials in Austin declared the current drought to be the worst Central Texas has ever experienced. In the absence of …read more