By Woodrow W. “Woody” Gossom Jr.
Wichita County Judge
Members of the 83rd Texas Legislature came together to pass the bill bringing about Proposition 6 (SJR1): “The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas to assist in the financing of priority projects in the state water plan to ensure the availability of adequate water resources.”
Approval of this amendment would release $2 billion from the “Rainy Day Fund” to establish the Texas Water Development Board and its fund to make loans to large cities for water projects with 10 percent set aside for rural communities.
This is a necessary beginning to keep Texas robust as our population is on track to double over the next 40 years. That population will personally consume a great deal of water, but industry and agriculture will consume more despite developmental techniques to conserve and reuse water. We think of creating more water sources, but it is basically a finite amount since the creation of the Earth.
Current water development plans estimate that combined statewide water plans amount to $40 billion-$60 billion. The proposed $2 billion is a start, but we will be borrowing for the next two decades, and even then we will not be able to recycle loan funds at a rate to meet projected growth and overcome current drought issues. Hopefully, we will see another constitutional amendment in the near future to add to the fund.
Voters need to keep in mind that this is not a direct tax across the board, but rather a fund set aside from the severance taxes for oil production. Without this investment in our future, the present will look rather dismal. Communities need to energize voters to cast their ballots in the Nov. 5 General Election to adopt Proposition 6.