Prop. 6: A vote for future Texas vitality

By Doug Miller, District 73 State Representative On Nov. 5, Texas voters will consider nine propositions on the uniform election ballot.  One of these, Proposition 6, is “the constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas to assist in the financing of priority projects in the state water plan to ensure the availability of adequate water resources.”

If voters approve this constitutional amendment, $2 billion will be transferred from the State’s Economic Stabilization Fund, or Rainy Day Fund, to the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIFT) for water-related projects. 

I urge you to vote in favor of Prop. 6.

It’s no secret we are experiencing one of the most severe drought periods since the 1950s, and everyone is feeling its effects. During the 1950s, however, not only did we receive significantly less than average rainfall with higher than average temperatures, but we only had about 8 million people living in Texas and much less demand for water. Today, we are lacking in rainfall, we have higher than average temperatures, we have more than three times the population than we did in the 1950s, and even with our best efforts to be good stewards of our water resources and implement measures like conservation, we have declining surface water and groundwater supplies, and we have much more demand for water. 

As the drought persists, most of the state continues to be classified as either in “severe” or “extreme” drought, with very few areas classified as either “none” or “abnormally dry.” No one is predicting an end to the current drought, and population predictions show the state’s population will double over the next 40 years. 

Closer to home, in District 73, we are either classified as either in “severe” or “extreme” drought, and access to our regional water supplies is limited because of this continuing dry spell. For example, Edwards Aquifer pumpers’ water use is now reduced by 35 percent, Canyon Lake Reservoir is only about 76 percent full, and Medina Lake Reservoir is only about 4 percent full. Population estimates for Comal, Kendall, and Gillespie counties show the number of people projected to live in these counties will also continue to increase substantially. Failure to respond to the challenges of a growing population and increasing water demand, and to plan for and put in place adequate supplies to get us through times of severe drought is irresponsible, and adversely impacts our current and future state and local economies.

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