Ensuring that farmers have reasonable access to water, now and in the future, is not a matter of protecting farmers’ business interests — it’s a matter of ensuring a safe and secure food supply for all of us.
The physical and legal issues surrounding water vary widely state-to-state. FARFA’s work on water focuses on Texas.
Unfortunately, many Texas legislators believe that we don’t have a “supply problem,” but just a “distribution problem.” They are pushing to make it easier to transfer water from one area to another. In practical terms, this means taking water from rural areas to supply urban centers.
While some water transfers may be needed, all too often these rural-to-urban transfers are being used to avoid real conservation measures. 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? Is having green golf courses worth being dependent on China and Mexico for our food?