For Proposition 6 - because we can't just wait for rain
By Sen. Carlos Uresti
Texas voters have an opportunity next month to give Mother Nature a helping hand.
Proposition 6 on the Nov. 5 ballot would provide $2 billion from the rainy day fund to the State Water Plan, and voter approval represents the crucial first step in securing our economic future.
Texas is suffering through a drought of almost historic proportions, one that threatens to surpass the record dry spell of the 1950s. And some of the hardest hit areas are in Senate District 19.
According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, almost 94 percent of the state is abnormally dry, with more than 25 percent experiencing severe drought conditions. An even more drastic category, extreme drought, is gripping more than 4 percent of the state, including a large part of Val Verde County.
Some would argue that we are merely in a dry cycle that will end on its own, as it did almost 50 years ago. Perhaps so, but we have suffered from a number of droughts since then. And this kind of do-nothing, wait-and-see approach is not how Texans tackle problems.
Texas has an abundance of natural resources, including oil and gas reserves that are being developed in an unprecedented oil boom. But when it comes to water, nature has been, let's say, inconsistent. Much of West Texas gets little rain even in a normal year, and history shows that even areas of abundant rain are subject to withering droughts.
That's why we must plan for a future that will certainly bring more dry spells, and the threat of billions of dollars in economic damages, as we are experiencing now. Yes, Mother Nature needs some help.
That's just what Proposition 6 would do. By funding the State Water Plan with $2 billion from the rainy day fund, we will take a progressive and forward looking approach to our long-term water needs - 50 years into the future in fact.
The plan would provide for a low-interest loan program to finance some 560 water supply projects on a revolving basis for the next five decades. This effort is critical to the long-term economic vitality of our state, which continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
Most voters usually ignore constitutional amendment elections, but this one is much too important to sit out. Early voting for the Nov. 5 election begins Oct. 21, so you have plenty of time to cast a ballot for Texas' future.
Don't just sit around and wait for it to rain.