Commentary: Who cares about water in Texas?

 Resize text         Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

So who cares about water in Texas? Farmers and ranchers, obviously. The rest of the state? Not so much.

At least that’s the conclusion faculty members at the University of Texas made after examining public opinion polls of issues that matter most to Texans.

The economy, immigration and education are top of mind for most. Yet water—that life-giving resource—registers as a top issue with only 4 percent.

That’s a real concern.

Rural Texans understand burn bans, dry wells and short pastures. Drought is not a word. It is a reality they live with every day.

For most urban Texans, water is something that comes out of the tap. Every time. There’s plenty to keep the lawn green. There’s plenty to keep the pool brimming. Urban areas are an oasis in a sea of Texas brown. And that’s a dangerous mirage for our future.

How long this lack of concern continues is a $53 billion question.

That’s the amount the Texas Water Development Board estimates it will take to fund the State Water Plan, a roadmap to meet the needs of a booming Texas population for the next 50 years.

Fortunately, the Texas legislature is paying attention, and both Texas House and Senate leadership has expressed the need this session to kick start the plan with revenue from the Rainy Day Fund.

And that’s good. But there’s also a danger. Agriculture—with a stellar record of improving efficiency and conservation and doing much more with less over the last two decades—is still the top water user in the state.

And as water gets more expensive and sources disappear, a clamor could arise to take agriculture’s water—drying up livelihoods, a rich agriculture heritage and ultimately, the food supply.

That’s why water needs to be a top concern of all Texans. Conservation and planning for future water needs is a conversation all Texans need to be engaged in now.

Waiting until the tap runs dry is far too late.

Comments (1) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

c. andrews    
chicago-kansas  |  February, 13, 2013 at 11:28 AM

When the history is written about the last 50 years historians will say that generation's waste of water producing cheap corn that really did not produce a lasting asset was all of histories sins. Water and animal protein will be the greatest asset for this century as was gold and oil/gas to the prevuious century. One case in point a 30,000 acre ranch 9 miles East of Texline, Tx produced 13 pot loads of calves annually. When developed under irrigation considering 130 acres per circle and using 35 Lbs of silage converted 7/1 into beef produced over 7000 pot loads and now is returning to the Great American Desert it has been for the past thousands of years. What is a glass of water worth when one is dying of thirst?


Brutus is the first side-by-side utility vehicle in the market to deliver front-end power take-off capability. Each Brutus model is ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Leads to Insight