Thursday, January 31, 2013

Water for Texas: The 2012 Texas Water Plan

“If Texans cannot change the weather, they can at least, through sound, farsighted planning, conserve and develop water resources to supply their needs.” 
A Plan for Meeting the 1980 Water Requirements of Texas, 1961

The 2012 Texas Water Plan is the ninth state water plan (the last plan being developed in 2007) that works as a guide to enable the state to meet its existing and future water needs over the next 50 years. As said on the Texas Water Plan website:

“The primary message of the 2012 State Water Plan is a simple one: In serious drought conditions, Texas does not and will not have enough water to meet the needs of its people, its businesses, and its agricultural enterprises.”

In order to overcome these droughts and help prevent them in the future, Texas hopes to allocate money from the Texas Rainy Day Fund. Formally known as the Economic Stabilization Fund, the Rainy Day Fund is Texas' largest savings account. The money comes from excess oil and gas production taxes and some unspent general revenue. It is intended to provide a cushion for unexpected budget shortfalls, but requires a two-thirds majority vote of the legislature to use it. (Definition from Texas Rainy Day Fund Website)

During the 2012 State Legislation, Texas Senators hope to designate $2 billion from the Texas Rainy Day Fund in order to create a water infrastructure bank. In addition, the goal behind the Texas Water Plan is to obtain millions of dollars from the Rainy Day Fund to help with additional water projects. The specific projects are chosen by need as well as the quickness of completion of the projects. The water projects will be planned out, decade by decade, over the next 50 years. The specific areas of focus for the projects are required to maximize their conservation efforts, another technique that will be used to help return more water in the coming years. Other conservation methods that will be concentrated on are harvesting more rainwater and brush control.

On Monday, January 23, 2013, State Sen. Glenn Hegar, Rep. Drew Darby and Rep. Lyle Larson met to talk about the 2012 Texas Water Plan and, according to speculation; the plan has strong potential of seeing real funding during this year’s legislation. 

Becka Adkins

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