It has been said that water is the essence of life. In Texas, it is the essence of our way of life. The water in our lakes, rivers, and aquifers sustains our families, nourishes our crops and livestock, and powers our industry.
A booming population and growing economy mean that many more people and businesses are going to compete for ever-increasing scarce water resources. Our state will be confronted with difficult decisions about who get how much water and how to pay for expensive new infrastructure.
Although Texas has not been granted an overabundance of water, it has been blessed with a hard working people who know how to be good stewards of our environment. In the coming years, Texas will face many challenges regarding the allocation of its vital water resources. It is important that Texans recognize and work amongst themselves to address these challenges.
The working knowledge of our land, our needs, and our plans for the future cannot be duplicated by outside actors, most notably the federal government; there is no individual in Washington who understands Texas like Texans do. Far too often, bureaucratic pronouncements from afar do more harm than good. The ability to make decisions about one’s water resources is a right worthy of jealous guard precisely because it is so central to our way of life.
It was recently brought to my attention that legislation has been introduced (H.R. 4719) in the U.S. House of Representatives that would establish a Southwest Border Region Water Task Force to assess the water needs of communities in the southwest border region (i.e., Texas). The purpose of this task force would be to determine the priority of water projects in the region and to attempt to coordinate the activities of various entities and report its findings to Congress. Sitting on this proposed board would be an array of federal representatives ranging from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There is mention of including any "relevant State agency" being given a seat amongst the Washington elite, but notably missing is local representation.
I am opposed to this legislation and the Washington-knows-best approach and will continue to oppose any legislation that seeks to exert more federal control over the waters of our state. There is no party more interested in Texas’ water than Texans and I believe that local control and input should be at the forefront of decisions and planning, not federal bureaucrats in Washington. Texans have both the right and the duty to be the stewards of our own land.