Happy Holidays! Here at the blog, we have been taking advantage of a slight lull in water news to rest up from a busy year and gear up for many important, upcoming issues. It seems with each year, water becomes an increasingly urgent issue. We are thankful to be involved in this topic and we are most grateful to dedicated readers like yourself who chose to learn more and get involved. Like many issues, the fate of water is too important to be determined by only a few. It requires widespread participation to ensure that Texas’s water needs (human and otherwise) are met.
Before we close out 2013, it is worth a quick review of the year in water. We relaunched the blog in August and it was non-stop water news from that point onward. This summer marked the third year of a continuing statewide drought, which meant that Texas faced some difficult realities. The lack of water forced users to evaluate their uses in reference to other users and we were reminded that water is a shared resource.
This was particularly true along the Colorado River where the Lower Colorado River Authority again denied water to the downstream rice farmers and threatened to cut off freshwater inflows into Matagorda Bay. Luckily, because of some rain and a large public outcry, the latter crisis was averted.
One of the biggest water stories of 2013 was the legislative passage and the subsequent successful statewide election on Proposition 6. This constitutional amendment allowed for the transfer of $2 billion from the State’s Economic Stabilization (Rainy Day) Fund to the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT). The money will be made available in low interest loans to support water projects identified in the State Water Plan.
As we enter 2014, the drought continues for much of the state and many important policy decisions are on the horizon. Here is a preview of what we already have planned. We will continue our coverage of the implementation of Proposition 6 and let you know how you can get involved. The blog will also discuss other legislation implementation, such as water loss audits. We will alert you to upcoming conferences, in case you want to attend, and will report back on the presentations, in case you aren’t able to join us. We will continue to monitor legal developments in groundwater and other areas of Texas water law. Of course, we will still keep you posted on municipal water conservation efforts as well as introduce new ideas on water pricing models and water efficiency technologies. Although we can’t predict all the water issues that will arise next year, we can be sure there will be plenty to discuss.
Happy New Year and we will see you in 2014!!!