CREDIT: Oscar Ricardo Silva
On Tuesday, Texas voters handily passed a proposition that supported amending the constitution to invest $2 billion from the state’s rainy day fund into a water bank to finance water planning projects.
In a surprising display of cooperation politicians from both sides of the aisle, including Governor Rick Perry, supported the proposition. This is because they can do the math for the state’s future: water = economy. In order to attract new business and support a quickly growing population, Texas will need to overcome an ongoing cycle of drought that has left reservoirs strained and rivers over-allocated. Texas is even looking for water beyond its borders and is currently embroiled in legal battles over water rights with neighboring New Mexico, Oklahoma, and even Mexico.
As of this week 87 percent of the state is in drought, with many regions imposing strict water-use restrictions.
Governor Perry hailed the passage of Proposition 6, saying “Today, the people of Texas made history”:
“Ensuring we’ll have the water we need to grow and thrive for the next five decades, without raising state taxes. Now it’s time to get to work on the projects that’ll help us meet our growing water needs, preserving and improving both our economic strength and quality of life.”
Most large environmental groups supported Proposition 6 because of its emphasis on putting nearly a third of the funding from the state water bank toward conservation and water reuse projects. However some smaller environmental groups opposed the measure because it didn’t focus enough on conservation measures and already existing resources.
The oil, gas, chemical, and construction industries in Texas are big water users, and were in support of the proposition.