The past three years of drought may have been less noticeable to average Texans than it has to farmers and ranchers who depend on adequate moisture to raise crops and keep livestock healthy or to smalltown residents who faced the dire prospect of running out of water as wells and reservoirs dried up. Some may have carped a bit about local water use restrictions that limited how often they could water their lawns, wash their cars or fill their swimming pools. Some may have been grounded when their favorite fishing holes became inaccessible because boat ramps were a football field away from the water’s edge.
But for the most part, those of us who live in cities and suburbs continue to have enough water to cook, shower daily and flush toilets when necessary. And most of us have been able to keep the grass, if not emerald green, at least alive. Golfers continue to find acceptably manicured courses to pursue their pastime.
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But most give little thought to the devastating effect drought, declining aquifers and shrinking reservoirs have on rural residents. Most don’t see the dusty fields, the scraggly crops and the brown rangeland that make producing food and fiber a near impossibility. And most don’t realize—yet—that farm and ranch failure will affect them at some point as food and clothing prices increase.
And perhaps most don’t yet realize that water is becoming a crucial issue, not only to rural Texans but also to every resident. We are running out of water. We were running out of water before the most recent droughts. Latest estimates indicate that within 40 years, maybe sooner, Texas water resources will be inadequate to meet demand.
The state’s population is growing; competition for water resources is increasing as more businesses, manufacturing companies and people move in and expect adequate water to run plants, keep landscapes colorful and amenities, such as golf courses and swimming pools, operational.
Without adequate water, Texas will cease to be an attractive option for business relocation. The governor can travel from one end of the country to the other to attract new business to the state, but his message of a business friendly environment will be of little value if Texas can’t provide adequate water to support those businesses and the people who come with them.
That’s why it’s important for Texans to approve Proposition 6 in the upcoming election. That proposal would provide $2 billion in seed money to jump start a state water plan approved by the Texas legislature last session.
It’s an off-year election, so turnout is expected to be low. But the issue could not be more important. Developing water resources is not a challenge that can be addressed at the 11thhour. Water plan implementation requires long-range efforts, creative thinking and a commitment to consider multiple options—new reservoirs, improved infrastructures and better conservation programs.
Texans can’t afford to delay implementation of a comprehensive water plan. It’s too important for the state’s growth potential, too important for the state’s economy, including the crucial agriculture sector, too important for the well-being of Texas’ citizens.
Vote yes on Proposition 6.