Water issues: All need a seat at the table

Prop 6, other issues discussed about state's most precious resource

By Ken Esten Cooke—

Last Thursday’s Texas Water Symposium at Schreiner University in Kerrville brought up important water issues that go well beyond Proposition 6, the issue of the day in light of the pending Nov. 5 general election.

Proposition 6 is important, and we agree that its passage is a key part of the overall water picture in Texas. Among other things, Prop 6 will help small towns get affordable loans from the Texas Water Development Board at affordable rates. A town with only thousands or even hundreds of residents can’t afford to rip up and replace water lines that were laid nearly a century ago in some cases. And fixing municipal water leakage — up to 50 percent in some towns — is the easiest, cheapest water to find.

(We certainly understand concerns about cronyism, but the bi-partisan support and independence of the Texas Water Development Board gives us optimism that it is a start on the road to needed water infrastructure repair.)

But the symposium dealt with private property rights and water. Moderator Weir Labatt, who serves on the Schreiner board of trustees, is a former member of the TWDB. He argued that this continued separation of rules concerning ground water and surface water is archaic. The law ignores the hydrological cycle.

Thursday’s conversation was about reconciling and balancing competing interests.

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