Texas water conservation Proposition 6
PERSONAL NEWS FIRST – In a welcome move, I have been reassigned from “North Region Director” of membership for the International Federation of Fly Fishers Texas Council, to my new role as a member of the water “Conservation Team” which is focused on “water rights, conservation and access.” I guess someone thought I had an opinion on these things!
STATE WATER NEWS – I have a whole lot left to learn about Texas water, and time is not on my side when it comes to motivating readers and council members into informed action. When it comes to “rights, conservation and access,” the most important word we need to focus on is, of course, “conservation.” Without conservation, rights and access will no longer be a topic.
While I know this path could eventually lead to the catacombs below the Texas State Capital, having to make room in my shrinking brain for more water knowledge, taking off the waders and putting on the mothballed suit, and getting really dirty; I also know there needs to be an educated opinion (or two) that represents the majority of fly fishers who fish in Texas waters – both for individuals and the (majority) Texas Council of International Federation of Fly Fishers. Time to get myself educated …
WHAT IS PROPOSITION 6?
We know lawyers occupy the halls of our Texas State Capital. That’s nothing new. And we know they write legislation in legal jargon that was created to exclude the people they serve. Their basic style of writing: Why use one word when ten are better? Why use plain english that constituents can understand?
I decided to glean information on the internet. The primary hit on a Google search is the Texas Water Development Board website. As we dig deeper into that site, the Proposition 6 frequently asked questions, and there are some nice graphics of the process at House Bill 4, Senate Joint Resolution 1, and House Bill 1025 Implementation Deadlines. Somebody spent a lot of your money creating these pretty graphics!
For us to believe conservation will be a priority to the tune of 20-percent of the proposed funding, first, we would have to believe that what we see is what we get. Immediately, what I see is a Texas Water Board appointed by Governor Rick Perry. This board’s membership counts not one practicing scientist or self avowed environmentalist.
In what appears to be a nod to the environmental aspect, Governor Perry did appoint Carlos Rubinstein to head the board of three people. The other two members, Bech Bruun, and Mary Ann Williamson are a professional politician with a law degree, and an owner of a gas company with an accounting degree respectively.
This board, as I read it, serves at the pleasure of the Governor. If he doesn’t like what he sees, someone’s getting “a promotion.” With the balance appearing to be (being a real idealist here) two-to-one, which way do the close calls go?
We live in Texas, and most our citizens affected by the water legislation are consumption minded, not conservation minded. That makes it difficult to imagine this legislation NOT passing. Good, or bad, we will be living with Proposition 6. If we know one thing, a proposition can be created to amend another piece of legislation – it’s the Texas way that we make these into amendments to our Texas State Constitution, completely distorting that document over the past 137 years.
We also live in an era where our representational republic gives us politicians who say, “We have to pass the legislation to see what’s in the legislation.” If you really believe that the written goals of 20-percent for conservation/reclamation will actually be used for that … really? Do you really believe that? You would have to believe that people don’t just want more water for their lawns, that they really want to spend money on using less. That just doesn’t sound Texan to me.
WHY SHOULD FLY FISHERS CARE?
If funds are distributed according to community needs, by request, common sense says the first thing the individual communities will request is more water. Right? Even though, on paper, there is a stated amount of 20-percent for conservation and 15-percent dedicated to increasing supply – which do you think small water districts will seek first? I am no expert, but if you’re thinking you’re going to get a new lake, reservoir or pond in your back yard, hey, you may be right. The only problem is; where are you going to get the water to fill that new orifice?
And the critical question arises: What will happen to the inland waters of the Texas Gulf Coast if more water is held back from natural release into the bays of the Gulf of Mexico? Feel free to think about that one.
If we think our suffering lakes and rivers will magically be filled with water from this legislation, your next proposition should be legalization of whatever you’re smoking. The ONLY WAY there will be more water we like to fish is through conservation on the personal level, higher cost per gallon, and local controls (yes, our towns and cities will have to tell bubba what their landscape can look like, or when, or how much bubba can water) on commercial landscaping.
WHO IS YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE?
In Denton, I am fortunate to actually know my Texas State Representative for District 64, Myra Crownover. However, I have no idea what her position is on Proposition 6. That’s a problem because I/we should have contacted our respective representatives BEFORE this ever became a proposition. We’re going to find out just how easy it is to talk to our State Representatives, and just what they really know about Texas water.
We all need to be informed voters. I am not here to tell you how to vote on Proposition 6 as a Texas fly fisher. I would rather hear your opinion, if you form one, on the proposition and tell me how I should vote. Reading the Proposition 6 frequently asked questions should help you form an opinion.
I think it would be way too simplistic to say, VOTE NO to Proposition 6, especially when this is a case of on the job learning from my perspective. I don’t really think we have a chance against the powers that be (read the graphic below), if we were to be on the NO side of this legislation.
CHEW ON THIS
This is a list of the top six contributors to campaign FOR Proposition 6
END NOTE – I am throwing a lot out here shotgun style. If you don’t do anything but read all about Proposition 6, this has been a successful article.
ADDITIONAL LINK – http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Texas_State_Water_Fund_Amendment,_Proposition_6_(2013)