— By STATE REP. PHIL KING
Texas faces its third year of a drought and our reservoirs are only 65 percent full, the lowest levels since 1990. The need for water is one of the highest concerns of the Legislature as our state is on track to experience the second worst drought on record.
To illustrate the problem, Texas’s population is projected to jump from 25 million to 46 million by 2060. Within that time water supplies are estimated to decline while the needs of our residential, industrial, and agricultural communities substantially increase.
That is why last week I signed on as a Joint Author to HB 11, which will fund our state water plan by withdrawing $2 billion from the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (reserve fund). This bold legislation, lead authored by Representative Ritter of Nederland, will establish a permanent fund to assist regional entities in funding water projects, including both water infrastructure and reservoirs. Properly structured and managed, its affect can be far reaching.
This investment is large even by Texas standards. But it pales when compared to the $7.62 billion lost to the Texas economy from the 2011 drought alone. For Texas to maintain a strong economy that will create jobs and economic opportunity, we must aggressively address our water needs. This is a very serious problem and must be given thoughtful consideration, debate, and input. Please let me know your thoughts and counsel at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PhilKingTX.
State Rep. Phil King serves Parker and Wise counties in the Texas House of Representatives.