November 17, 2011
Texas Senator Kirk Watson released the following statement Thursday on the decision by the executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to recommend that the Lower Colorado River Authority be given flexibility in its management of water supplies:
The TCEQ’s executive director made the right choice, albeit a hard choice, in recommending that the LCRA be allowed to prioritize the use of limited water during a severe drought.
This recommendation, if approved by the commission next month, will help protect water supplies for people living in both larger cities and smaller communities, as well as for industries that are vital to the Texas economy. Unfortunately, that may also mean curtailing water for some customers, including many agricultural customers, whose rights to surface water are “interruptible.”
But that’s the difficult situation that the state faces given Texas’ limited water resources, crippling drought conditions, and a stubborn failure by those in control of state government to implement the state’s long-range water plan – either by not creating a state-wide framework for water conservation or not getting started on projects the plan calls for.
Make no mistake: this decision won’t add to our region’s water supply. Nor will it avert even harder decisions if this terrible drought gets worse. This crisis and these sorts of difficult choices should focus all of us. Individually, we must each do our part in conserving and protecting this essential resource. And while state agencies should be commended for addressing a tough situation the best way they know how, legislators must respond more forcefully to this crisis. Without a real, honest commitment to implement the provisions of the water plan, the hard choices facing Texans, state agencies, economic leaders and Texas communities will only get harder.