Released by State Rep. Dan Flynn
We are fortunate that over the last several months Texas has received some much needed rain; however, the 2011 drought remains the worst in Texas history and we would be foolish to forget Texas is still very much in a water crisis. The 2011 drought led to severe declines in aquifer and reservoir levels, compromising water supply and delivery to many public systems. Early in 2012, the public water systems of 13 towns and cities were projected to run completely out of water within 180 days and Texas reservoirs were at 64 percent of their water storage capacity -- the lowest since 1974 when the state started keeping records.
In Texas today, we have a population of about 26 million. By 2060, the state's population is projected to grow to 46.3 million -- an 82 percent increase over our current population. Put simply, we do not have enough water to support projected future population growth with our current water infrastructure. Long-term planning is contained in the State Water Plan, a 50-year plan. The 2012 Water Plan reflects a grim reality stating, "Texas does not and will not have enough water to meet the needs of its people, its businesses, and its agricultural enterprises." However, part of the purpose of the Water Plan is to identify and recommend water management strategies to meet the state's needs.
The Water Plan tells us what needs to be done and how much it will cost to do it. Unfortunately, the state has no revenue source devoted to maintaining and developing water supplies at this time. It will be critical that the Legislature address how to adequately fund the Water Plan. During the interim, both the Senate and House have been considering possible ways to do this. In the meantime, it is important that as individuals we strive to conserve water in our homes and in our lives. We must all look for solutions to meet these critical needs. Talk with you neighbors and community about this issue so that we may all work toward a sustainable goal for our state.