Lawmakers Are Taking the Battle Over Texas' Water Supply to Your Front Lawn

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Water -- or the lack thereof -- has already made it to the top of the state Legislature's priority list, and it's an area of rare bipartisan agreement. After all, it doesn't take a hydrological engineer to figure out that growing population plus soon-to-be-maxed-out water sources plus historic drought equals an uncomfortably thirsty future.

So far, the most discussed proposals have revolved around securing future supplies. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst proposed dipping into the state's rainy day fund for $1 billion to pay for water supply projects. Lawmakers doubled down on his proposal, suggesting that $2 billion would be the proper amount.

Still, there hadn't been much talk about conservation, partly because that's something easier taken up by local governments and partly because this is Texas.

But state Senator Kirk Watson, D-Austin, is looking to change that. Yesterday, he filed SB 198, which would bar homeowners associations, many of which have rules mandating green lawns, from penalizing members for using "drought-resistant landscaping or water-conserving turf." Such things happen.

Watson explained the measure, as well as a companion aimed at reducing water consumption at electric power plants, in a statement to StateImpact Texas.

"These two bills are just the start of what I hope to be a session full of progress as we evaluate our water supply and our future -- and as we look for ways to help Texans do better when it comes to paying for, planning for, prioritizing, and conserving our increasingly scarce and always essential water resources," he said.

In the context of the state's looming water woes, Watson's bill is infinitesimally small, but it does nudge the issue of conservation into the discussion, and it does so by flipping the traditional argument against watering restrictions -- the "This is my property, and I'll turn it into a lake if I damn well please" line of thought -- on its head.

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10 comments
1dailyreader
1dailyreader

Dallas can't or won't conserve water so they'll try to force Oklahoma, the state they hate, to make them sell them water.  If Texas doesn't start implementing some sort of conservation measures this state will surely be in trouble.  Worse than it is now.  It doesn't take much energy to recycle and conserve.

Gangy
Gangy

I'm guessing that Dewhurst is aiming to be sure the oil and gas industry has all the water they want to continue fracking.

dallasdrilling.wordpress.com
dallasdrilling.wordpress.com

Until the State and local governments who behave like whores and get stronger restriction on the gas industry, I'm over watering everything and taking really long showers.

WCGasette
WCGasette

From the article linked to:

"The Rainy Day Fund is a pot of money (currently sitting at about $8 Billion) collected primarily from oil and gas development taxes. It is designed to be very difficult for lawmakers to get their hands on, and is set aside by state law for use only in circumstances like an extreme budget shortfall, or to respond to a natural disaster."

TX Republicans won't tap into this billion dollar fund (funded by the Oil and Gas Industry taxes) for public education but you betcha they will tap into it if the oil and gas industry needs it back for their own man-made natural disaster.  Hello, smoke and mirrors.

WCGasette
WCGasette

North TX cities have various water restriction plans.  Grand Prairie was at Stage 3 of a Drought Contingency Plan in the summer of 2011. Our HOA certainly didn't disagree with that.  Watering for 10-15 minutes twice a week was sufficient. Insofar as fracking and drilling operations...gas operators were under "No drilling and No fracking" without a variance from our city. So, what do they do with those restrictions? Chesapeake took water from an Arlington FRAC Pond and/or fire hydrant via a water truck over to Grand Prairie to frack a well near Lake Joe Pool.  They were caught in the act. But no telling how often they did that without anyone snapping a picture.

In case you missed it...http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/09/07/arlington-water-used-for-fracking-in-grand-prairie/

Read Marc's comment at the link above:

"Here is a simple fact that most people SHOULD be able to comprehend - not one single human, animal or plant can survive without fresh water. But, mankind lived on this rock for 200-400,000 years without ever using a drop of oil or burning a cubic foot of natural gas until around 1860. So, we know that we can live without oil and gas, but we cannot live without water."

schermbeck
schermbeck

It's going to take a lot of lawn-watering restrictions to make up for the billions of gallons being flushed permanently down the tubes by fracking.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@darrd2010 Well then, you're just as selfish as those you're fighting.  You're not that bright, and have utterly destroyed any credibility you had.  Just another selfish fuck lobbying for yourself.

russp
russp

@oakclifftownie 

That's how I feel, if the rain we get isn't enough, it's the wrong grass or plant for my yard.

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