Aug. 7, 2012
There’s no question that Texas is in a major drought. By some accounts, last year’s horrible lack of rain was actually just the worst summer of an almost decade-long drought we have suffered through. But it wasn’t until last summer that most people noticed and started really talking about water issues.
Among other things, a prolonged drought means your water bill is probably going up.
For example, I looked at my water bill today. Here in Austin, water usage after the first 2,000 gallons costs more than double what you are billed for the first 2,000. The same is true for wastewater services. Be prepared to pay a premium if you intend to use more than a minimal amount of water.
The bright side is the Texas Water Development Board has drafted a nationally acclaimed State Water Plan. That plan calls for the development of sustained sources of surface and groundwater, improving and adding water infrastructure, and creating new usable water from saltwater.
But only if Texas legislators can find a permanent funding source for the water plan … which, given the lack of political appetite for increasing revenue, i.e. fees or taxes, appears to be a huge obstacle.
Demographers estimate the state will double in population by 2060 and if the water plan isn’t funded and implemented, that could mean as many as half of those 50 million people could be without a clean, reliable water source in times of drought.
The water plan isn’t cheap. The cost of implementation? $53 billion over the next 50 years.
The cost of doing nothing? We’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars every year because of businesses abandoning Texas for more water-rich states.
Texas REALTORS® have taken the lead on water issues and will continue working with interest groups and state planners to see to it that we all have access to this precious resource.
First, practice water conservation to reduce your impact on the water crisis and save money. You can also stay informed on this issue and engage in the political process.
If we individually conserve and collectively plan now, we’ll be in much better shape to match our future water demands with the supply.