Water Fights

With your help, we succeeded in stopping the  bill to study how to create a “statewide marketing and conveyance grid” for water in Texas.  But the fight is not yet over!  The water marketers are seeking to attach the bill as an amendment to other bills over the Memorial Day Weekend —  we need your help again!

In practical terms, a statewide water marketing and conveyance grid will mean taking more water from rural areas to supply urban centers.  But average residential water usage ranges from 60 gallons to over 300 gallons per person per day in different cities in Texas.
cracked land and green lawn-1
Are perfect green lawns important enough to drain aquifers and destroy the future of rural communities and local food?

Ultimately, this approach hurts us all, by fueling unsustainable growth and using up the water resources we all need.   

Tell your Texas legislators that we must conserve first, transfer later
Oppose any amendment that focuses on water marketing and conveyances

TAKE ACTION

Call or email your State Representative today – the amendment could come up as the Sunday before Memorial Day!

To find out who your State Representative is, go to www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us (the Capitol Switchboard is closed over the weekend)

Message:

My name is ____, and I am a constituent. I urge Representative _________ to oppose any amendment that creates a study for water marketing and conveyances.  We should not be spending money on a study about how to transfer water without ensuring that conservation and preservation of our water resources is placed first.  And it is vital that the future of ALL Texans — including those that live in areas where water would be taken away from — be considered.

If you prefer email to phone calls, you can email your Representative:
Firstname.Lastname@house.state.tx.us or through the online contact form you can find by following the links at  www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us

 

MORE INFORMATION

Read our fact sheet here

 

While some water transfers may be needed, all too often these rural-to-urban transfers are being used to avoid real conservation measures.  In fact, the current state Water Plan assumes that municipal demand will increase almost directly proportionally to the projected increase in our population over the next 50 years.

In other words, the plan assumes that people will continue to use (and waste) water at the same rates as today, without any significant additional conservation efforts.  Yet average residential water usage ranges from 60 gallons to over 300 gallons per person per day in different parts of Texas.  Many Texans could easily cut their water usage in half – or even lower – without any real hardship.

Water transfers just postpone the day of reckoning.  At some point, Texans will need to take serious steps to conserve water.  Shouldn’t we do it before our aquifers have been drained and our rural communities destroyed?

San Antonio’s recent actions provide a clear vision of what this means.  San Antonio is building a 140-mile pipeline to transfer large amounts of groundwater from some of the best farmland in our state, draining the aquifer under Burleson and Milam Counties.  At the same time, the city is negotiating a deal to have some of the water bottled for sale

 

HB 3298/SB 1907 — the bill from which the amendment is drawn — directs the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to conduct a study for the development of a market and conveyance network for water in the State.  While water transfers are necessary and appropriate in some circumstances, the study’s assumptions and directives are seriously flawed.

Even with the House floor amendment, the bill continues to focus on how to implement largescale water markets and conveyances, rather than addressing the underlying issue of whether these are good solutions. 

As amended, HB 3298/ SB 1907 still does not address the concerns that have been raised.  HB 3298/ SB 1907 fails to direct TWDB to include important factors that should be considered in any discussion of transferring water from one area of the state to another.  Specifically:

  • The bill leaves out any consideration of the potential impacts on areas from which water is transferred.  Water is a basic necessity for life and for almost all types of business activity, from agriculture to manufacturing to service.  Any discussion of transfers must include consideration of the long-term impacts on the areas from which they are taking water.  Otherwise, the areas from which water is transferred will never have the opportunity to grow, and they will stagnate or disappear.
  • The bill fails to include conservation as a first step. No transfers should be allowed if the receiving area has not first implemented all possible conservation measures.
  • The bill fails to include protection of our aquifers and water resources for the future.  Focusing on water marketing and transfers makes it all too easy to disguise unsustainable water usage practices and avoid necessary conservation measures.  That doesn’t solve the problem; it simply postpones the day of reckoning and makes the ultimate reckoning more painful.
  • The bill fails to ensure that Texans’ property rights are protected.  Under current law, the rule of capture means that individuals’ rights to use the water under their land can be destroyed by over pumping of the aquifer – a likely outcome of massive transfers of water that don’t consider the impact on the aquifer or the community from which water is taken.  While a draft proposed amendment to SB 1907 encourages TWDB to identify the projects that are “least intrusive” to property rights, the bill still places water transfers first, and property rights second.

 

Updated May 11, 2015