Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Southern drought, Texas consequences.

I will come right out and say it, we need to institute strict water conservation efforts. There are many states suffering under severe drought conditions, Texas of course, is one of them. Here in Texas we are highly reticent to give any level of government the ability to dictate our actions or decisions. We should however, give up some of that say to benefit Texans on the issue of water usage. I know there are some who say when the price gets too high the market will correct our habits. That would be perfectly acceptable reasoning and in line with our conservative beliefs of being resistant to change, but it is flat out wrong.

There has been a battle raging between rice farmers and LCRA for a while about supplying enough water for agricultural purposes. One just needs to watch the news to see how woefully inadequate the lake levels are across the state and there is a mounting realization that the drought is going to increase national food prices in the coming months. I won't get into the climate change debate about what the drought may or may not signal because it is unnecessary. We can ignore the drought and still have reason for concern. Assuming our water supply comes back up to reasonable levels, the economic growth Texas is experiencing and the population boom it is going through are taxing those resources beyond their normal capabilities. If water is used by the farmers it reduces the supply to the public and the businesses that make our economy and the reciprocal is true.

The state is fairing well compared to the other states and our population and economy is its reward. Texas has to accomodate the growth however and water supply is a necessary service to preserve and expand on that growth. If we do nothing it will get to a point in which rationing our water supply will not be optional. As a state so strongly independent and individualistic, WE should decide on what restrictions are put into place. Until the drought is over and Texas has a better grasp on its water supply we need to be vigilant and preserve what water we do have. Weather may control how much water we get, but we control how long it lasts.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting you raise this point. The Commissioner of the General Land Office in Texas, Jerry E. Patterson actually visited my UT Class during the fall semester and spoke of his project. He was investigating a piece of land that housed water beneath its surface. In order to obtain the land and disperse it among all of Texas, it'd cost Texas a pretty penny, however, the water supply is not only plentiful but also replenishes itself. The problem with telling Texans to "converse water" is that many take pride in their lawn. As we grow older, our reputation and pride in our local neighborhood is based on how well manicured our lawn is. Since I grew up in a retirement area in Georgetown, TX, I can say from experience that elderly people have no future plans of giving up on their morning rituals of watering their plants and ensuring every blade of grass is proportional in size. Also, during this summer's water conservation efforts, many Texans living within the greater Austin area were bending the rules and watering their plants while their neighbors could not because they hired a company to drill a well and tap into the St. Edward's Aquifer, allowing them to use the Aquifer's water supply to simply ensure they have green and heathy plants. It's hard to strip a Texas resident's individualistic desires to have a well manicured lawn. In fact, some can't even handle that restriction, they'll bend the rules so that they can get ahead of their neighbors for "best lawn in the neighborhood."