One big topic in Austin right now is water.
And one big water bill in the house is in a bit of trouble.
Our state is growing, and growing fast.
The problem is, our water supplies are actually shrinking.
“We don’t have enough water to meet current needs in the event of severe drought conditions,” says Dr. Dan Hardin, Director of Water Resources Planning for the Texas Water Development Board “Based on our projections, we expect the population of the state to increase by nearly 80% between 2010 and 2060. We expect the demand for water in the state to increase by 22%. But the existing supply of water over that time, we expect to decline by 10%.”
The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House and the whole state Senate want to tap the rainy day fund, which has now bulged to almost $12-billion, to pay for infrastructure work.
But this week, the House said no.
“Most Democrats and most Republicans are upset with 13-15 freshmen, generally Republicans, who are locked down against any kind of expenditures from the rainy day fund,” says Harvey Kronberg, editor of the Quorum Report political newsletter.
Some outside groups like Empower Texas, are lobbying hard to pay for this out of general revenue.
“So, they’re afraid if you go to general revenue that you’re going to start shortchanging all those other needs,” Kronberg says.
But along with Hurricanes and wildfires, doesn’t water count as an emergency?
“There’s a reason there’s a wide variety of strategies in the water plan,” says Hardin, “because none of them will solve the problem on their own.”
State leaders say, if we don’t keep up with growth, that growth will end.
Which is why, you can probably count on this ultimately passing.