Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Texas Votes For Water

Proposition 6 was adopted as an amendment to the Texas Constitution after winning the majority vote for ratification on Nov. 5 2013. The unofficial tally indicates that Prop. 6 received over 70% "yay" votes of support.

What this amendment does is establish two new state funds directed at improving water conservation and availability to the Republic of Texas. Much of the funding comes from the state's so-called "Rainy Day Fund". The Economic Stabilization Fund, established as an economic backstop in case of emergency, was meant to stay at a certain revolving level. With a surplus in the fund, the Texas Legislature decided to use $2 Billion of that surplus to establish these two new funds. Per the state constitution, that requires an amendment.

Gov. Rick Perry had these remarks on hearing the preliminary news of Prop. 6's ratification:

"Today, the people of Texas made history, ensuring we’ll have the water we need to grow and thrive for the next five decades, without raising state taxes. Now it’s time to get to work on the projects that’ll help us meet our growing water needs, preserving and improving both our economic strength and quality of life."

The 83rd Legislature passed SJR 1, which enabled the proposed amendment to be brought before citizens to vote on the amendments.

The first fund this amendment creates is the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas or "SWIFT":

       Sec. 49-d-12.  (a)  The State Water Implementation Fund for Texas is created as a special fund in the state treasury outside the general revenue fund. Money in the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas shall be administered, without further appropriation, by the Texas Water Development Board or that board's successor in function and shall be used for the purpose of implementing the state water plan that is adopted as required by general law by the Texas Water Development Board or that board's successor in function. Separate accounts may be established in the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas as necessary to administer the fund or authorized projects.

The second fund created by the amendment is the State Water Revenue Implementation Fund:

       Sec. 49-d-13.  (a)  The State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas is created as a special fund in the state treasury outside the general revenue fund. Money in the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas shall be administered, without further appropriation, by the Texas Water Development Board or that board's successor in function and shall be used for the purpose of implementing the state water plan that is adopted as required by general law by the Texas Water Development Board or that board's successor in function. Separate accounts may be established in the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas as necessary to administer the fund or authorized projects.


Over the past 30 months, many counties in Texas have experienced drought conditions. Governor Perry, a strong proponent for Prop. 6, has continually renewed Emergency Drought Conditions Proclamations since July 2011. 2014 Candidate for Lt. Gov. and current Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples has also been an open and vocal proponent of Prop. 6. Prop. 6 is seen as a necessary measure to insure the Republic's natural resources are available for Texas's large and important ranching and farming communities.

Pictures of the effects of the continuing drought can be found at  this site run by the Texas Water Development Board.

As of the end of August, 2013, nearly 70% of the state was under some level of drought conditions.

After losing the Supreme Court case regarding the Red River Water Compact, Texas quickly moved to seek newer and more environmentally friendly sources of water to meet the ever-increasing needs that go with an expanding population.

While in Israel, Gov. Perry attended an international conference on better water management and conservation systems. He also announced the building of Texas A&M - Nazareth "Peace" Campus, which will include facilities dedicated to studies on better water conservation.