Why You Should Vote No on Prop 6.
Texas Proposition 6 which will be on the ballot Nov. 5 proposes using $2 billion from the Texas Rainy Day Fund to fund water projects in Texas. On the surface this may seem like a worthwhile idea.
But if you read the provisions of the bill, many of its stated goals are cause for concern for rural communities. Under Prop 6, farm and ranch communities will qualify for only 10% of the funds . Large cities in Texas will receive the highest priority.
There is one irrefutable fact the bill ignores. The only water we have is that that which falls from the sky. Rainwater replenishes our aquifers and supplies water to our lakes and rivers. That’s our only source of water and no amount of financing can create more water.
Texas water Development Board website states: “By 2060, the Texas population is expected to nearly double and existing water supplies are projected to decrease by 10 percent, creating a need for an additional 8.3 million acre-feet per year—or about 2.7 trillion gallons.”
So, in the not too distant future we will have almost twice the population and less rain. This dire situation calls for more realistic measures than Prop 6 proposes to finance. United States Geological Survey researched water use in the U.S. in 2005 and determined that almost half the water used in the U.S. was used by electric power generating plants. That’s a huge amount of water. According to a Houston Chronicle article, fracking operations in Texas used 25 billion gallons of water last year. Unlike other water uses, toxic fracking water does not re-enter the water cycle. It is spoiled for human use forever and must be injected thousands of feet into the earth to avoid contaminating our aquifers.
Prop 6 does not even mention these two huge water uses that could be partially or completely done away with. Replacing most of the fossil fuel and nuclear generating plants with solar and wind energy could free up almost as much water as we use now. In other words, we could almost double our water supply by going with renewable energy. Texas needs a bill that would force fracking operations to recycle the water they use, use brackish groundwater, or switch to propane for fracking. Fracking operations in Texas are predicted to last decades and even increase. Wells have dried up in Barnhart, 50 miles west of San Angelo. They blame it on excessive fracking water use in the area.
The $2 billion allotted to Prop 6 would be controlled by a committee composed of the State comptroller and six State legislators. These seven people would control who gets the $2 billion. Before anyone votes for Prop 6, the bill should have to spell out who gets the money and the details about the project financed. The money shouldn’t be spent on pipelines to take rural groundwater to the large cities. The money shouldn’t be spent on building reservoirs and groundwater well fields that service fracking operations.
The bill as it is now written leaves too many unanswered questions and should be voted down.