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Dallas Morning News Editorial Conveys Harsh Reality of Texas' Water Problem

by: Ben Sherman

Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 00:00 PM CST

Bravo to Dallas' hometown newspaper on working to bring Texans' focus back on an issue that hasn't -- and won't -- be going away. On Friday, the paper ran an editorial that serves as a needed reminder that Texas has severe, worsening water problems that have not been solved.

"Pardon the downer note, just when many people might think the water problem is solved with passage last year of Proposition 6, for a billion-dollar fund to jump-start new reservoirs and conservation projects," reads the editorial.

Areas across Texas, including Dallas-Fort Worth, are undergoing water restrictions as the drought continues and we wait for newly funded infrastructure to be built and then to see how well it will work. No matter what, Texas must prepare for a much less water-abundant reality in the decades ahead. That's the effect of a boomed population with the effects of climate change.

A report out last week from the State Comptroller looks at possible avenues of effort that lawmakers should consider, from the desalination of brackish groundwater to increased efficiency measures. It also proposed that fracking companies look into new technologies for waterless fracking. Being the Republican that Comptroller Susan Combs is, she made efforts in the report to indicate that Texas' water problems could not possibly be related to climate change,  the report takes every opportunity to celebrate dirty energy companies, and the economic effect of water depletion is a main focus. Nonetheless, it's important that Texas take action, and the report is unquestionably helpful.

The editorial points out that Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn warned businesses away from Texas in 2013 by calling it "water-challenged". That's fact hurts our ability to live in Texas, hurts our economy, and poses an ongoing threat to our future.

Read the editorial below the jump.


With Texas water, glass still half-empty

Texas typically has a glass half-full attitude, but that approach doesn't cut it when it comes to water resources, not when some local lakes are truly half-empty, and falling.

Pardon the downer note, just when many people might think the water problem is solved with passage last year of Proposition 6, for a billion-dollar fund to jump-start new reservoirs and conservation projects.

Coming out of another dry year, lake levels in North Texas show how the thirsty, booming region lives on the edge. Dallas' sprawling northern and eastern suburbs - the white-hot growth areas - have ratcheted down to twice-a-month outdoor watering to protect reservoir levels.

The region always seems one storm away from relief, one drought away from calamity.

It's a stubborn but not intractable problem. A report out this week from State Comptroller Susan Combs outlines new approaches that lawmakers should consider beyond Prop 6, which her analysis called "only a step."

A theme running through the proposals is using grant competition to spur innovation from water providers. Conservation and increased efficiency would be a focus. Combs would put a premium on research into new technologies.

The comptroller's report also zeroes in on the vast store of brackish groundwater that could be pumped up and desalinated for household use. Developing new technologies to lower the cost of that process could be a game-changer for Texas. It was good to see Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst come out Thursday and order the Senate Natural Resources Committee to study this to prepare for next year's lawmaking session.

Texas' fame as a jobs magnet comes with a price. Competitor states take their shots, and they sting. One came last year from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who called Texas "water challenged."

Quinn was right, actually, and he picked a potentially good tactic to scare off companies thinking about relocating to Texas.

The best way to react is to show that the fight for water sufficiency is far from over. Texas' economic future depends on it.

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As bad as we need a water plan, prop 6 is a scam. It's Washington style crony capitalism for Perry's buddies. Big Water will make lots of money off this without having to worry about the risk of investment or proper resource allocation. The state shouldn't be playing the part of an investment banker.. It's evident that private investment into the issue should have already been well on it's way since there is a demand for a solution, but why do that when your pals are probably going to cut you a check to do as y'all wish?

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