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Perhaps no other issue is as critical for all businesses in Texas as our water supply. The latest update to the Texas State Water Plan confirms that in drought conditions, Texas businesses do not have the water that is needed to sustain economic opportunity. The report projects that by 2060 water supplies will decrease by 10%, while our population will grow by 82%, from 25.4 million to over 46 million. The need for additional water in Texas during drought conditions will reach 8.3 million acre-feet. 

Future water availability will depend on significant financial investment in water projects and infrastructure measured in the tens of billions of dollars. The failure to meet this water demand by 2060 will mean the loss of $116 billion in lost corporate and personal income annually and over 1 million jobs in Texas. Addressing the issue of water supply will help control costs, which will become exorbitant for all users when demand far exceeds supply. 

Conservation of existing water resources, development of additional cost-effective supplies and sound scientifically-based and economically rational standards for protecting water quality will be key to our ability to continue to attract business opportunity to Texas. TAB's priorities for water management policy for the 84th Legislature are:

Water

Emergency allocations of water. Support efforts to ensure that the allocation of water during drought or other emergency conditions to meet critical public health and welfare needs is conditioned on recipients of water implementing the most stringent water conservation measures and allows for compensation to those water rights holders who surrender water to meet public emergencies.

 

 

State Water Plan. With the support of TAB and other interest groups, the 83rd Legislature passed HB 4 and SJR 1 and the voters in November 2013 approved the constitutional amendment that dedicates $2 billion from the Economic Stabilization Fund for additional financial support for water infrastructure projects. In addition to our existing priorities for sound water resource management, TAB

With the support of TAB and other interest groups, the 83 Legislature passed HB 4 and SJR 1 and the voters in November 2013 approved the constitutional amendment that dedicates $2 billion from the Economic Stabilization Fund for additional financial support for water infrastructure projects. In addition to our existing priorities for sound water resource management, TAB

 

The addition of $2 billion and the financial management tools available in HB 4, in conjunction with the existing bond authority of the TWDB, are designed to provide incentives to local and regional water providers to pursue water supply and conservation strategies. It will be incumbent on TAB to monitor the implementation of HB 4 and subsequent legislation to ensure that water providers in Texas are properly motivated to invest in water infrastructure and that the state

 

New Water Management Strategies. Providing improvements in the ability to finance water infrastructure in only part of the task. The state must now look to what strategies offer the best options for the future to provide both an adequate supply of additional water resources and the most cost-effective supply. To that end, the legislature will be examining new and evolving options, including desalination of brackish groundwater, aquifer storage and recovery and innovative reuse and conservation technologies. Full utilization of these strategies will require changes to the current legal, procedural and institutional water resource management framework, including the structure, function and authority of groundwater conservation districts. Although the specific changes cannot be identified, nor their timing predicted, TAB must monitor legislative consideration of these issues and participate in the legislative coordination to ensure that they result in an adequate supply of water at a cost that is fair and supportive of future economic growth.

Providing improvements in the ability to finance water infrastructure in only part of the task. The state must now look to what strategies offer the best options for the future to provide both an adequate supply of additional water resources and the most cost-effective supply. To that end, the legislature will be examining new and evolving options, including desalination of brackish groundwater, aquifer storage and recovery and innovative reuse and conservation technologies. Full utilization of these strategies will require changes to the current legal, procedural and institutional water resource management framework, including the structure, function and authority of groundwater conservation districts. Although the specific changes cannot be identified, nor their timing predicted, TAB must monitor legislative consideration of these issues and participate in the legislative coordination to ensure that they result in an adequate supply of water at a cost that is fair and supportive of future economic growth.

 

State Water rights. In examining any new legislative proposals to promote alternative or innovative water supply strategies, oppose efforts to alter the existing structure of water rights laws in Texas in any manner that would weaken the legal and property interest of existing holders of water rights. Also, TAB should monitor the implementation of any programs to increase or enhance the enforcement of water rights, including new watermaster jurisdictions, to ensure that existing water rights are protected and that any costs of new enforcement programs clearly reflect the value of the resource and the fair allocation of costs among water right holders.

In examining any new legislative proposals to promote alternative or innovative water supply strategies, oppose efforts to alter the existing structure of water rights laws in Texas in any manner that would weaken the legal and property interest of existing holders of water rights. Also, TAB should monitor the implementation of any programs to increase or enhance the enforcement of water rights, including new watermaster jurisdictions, to ensure that existing water rights are protected and that any costs of new enforcement programs clearly reflect the value of the resource and the fair allocation of costs among water right holders.

 

Water conservation. Support efforts to ensure that water users are required to develop and enforce stringent water conservation measures as a condition of receiving any state financial or technical assistance for water resource planning and development

Support efforts to ensure that water users are required to develop and enforce stringent water conservation measures as a condition of receiving any state financial or technical assistance for water resource planning and development