State seeking public input on conservation priorities
Last year, Texas voters approved the allocation of $2 billion from the state’s rainy day fund to pay for water projects. Proposition 6 won fairly handily, but many from both the left and the right sides of the political spectrum had concerns about the new water fund. Transparency and accountability were mentioned. And even supporters of the measure cautioned against over-investing in certain types of projects. Specifically, conservation groups wanted to make sure that conservation measures were part of the picture and that some of the money would go to reduce water use instead of just endless construction of new reservoirs.
Such conservation projects could include using the money to replace old-fashioned toilets with the newer, low-flow models. Another big conservation move is funding repairs on existing water systems. Simply fixing or if necessary replacing aging and leaky pipes and other infrastructure could have an enormous effect on water use. Those are good projects for municipal water providers. San Antonio in particular has had a lot of success with such projects. But a focus on cities can miss the fact that agricultural water use is another area with significant potential for improved conservation. Agricultural irrigation makes up most of the water use in Texas.
The Texas Water Development Board has proposed agency rules to govern the use of a new state water project fund approved by voters last November with the passage of Proposition 6. State conservation groups are encouraging Texans to take the opportunity to review and comment on the proposed rules. Hearings on the rules begin next Thursday, July 24 in San Antonio, with additional public hearings set for August 13 in San Angelo and August 21 in Fort Worth. In addition, TWDB is taking comments via email and postal mail or through a portal on the agency’s website.
The regional planning groups also have regular meetings soon. The Northeast Texas group meets on July 23 in Mount Pleasant. The North Texas group will meet August 18 in Grand Prairie.
Most counties in the KETR service area (Delta, Franklin, Hopkins, Hunt, Lamar, Rains, Van Zandt, Wood) are served by the Northeast Texas group. Some counties (Collin, Fannin, Kaufman, Rockwall) are served by the North Texas group.