By BRAD KELLAR
One of the lawmakers representing Hunt County in Austin believes water should be a major focus of the upcoming session of the next state legislature.
State Representative Dan Flynn (R-Van) said the 2011 drought — the worst in the state’s history — and the expected rapid increase in population in Texas means that soon there won’t be enough water to go around.
“Put simply, we do not have enough water to support projected future population growth with our current water infrastructure,” Flynn said in the most recent version of “The Flynn Report.”
The 83rd Texas Legislature is scheduled to convene on January 8 and will be dealing with the standard debates over school finance, whether to legalize casino gambling in Texas, choosing a new Speaker of the House, immigration reform and setting a budget.
But Flynn, who represents House District 2 which includes Hunt, Hopkins and Van Zandt counties, said it “would be foolish to forget Texas is still very much in a water crisis”, just because recent rains have helped reduce overall drought numbers.
“The 2011 drought led to severe declines in aquifer and reservoir levels, compromising water supply and delivery to many public systems,” Flynn said. “Early in 2012, the public water systems of 13 towns and cities were projected to run completely out of water within 180 days and Texas reservoirs were at 64 percent of their water storage capacity -- the lowest since 1974 when the state started keeping records.”
Flynn noted the current state population of 26 million is forecast to rise to 46.3 million by 2060, adding the State Water Plan has concluded Texas does not have enough water to meet the expected needs of its people, businesses and agricultural enterprises.
“The Water Plan tells us what needs to be done and how much it will cost to do it,” Flynn said. “Unfortunately, the state has no revenue source devoted to maintaining and developing water supplies at this time. It will be critical that the Legislature address how to adequately fund the Water Plan. During the interim, both the Senate and House have been considering possible ways to do this. In the meantime, it is important that as individuals we strive to conserve water in our homes and in our lives. We must all look for solutions to meet these critical needs. Talk with you neighbors and community about this issue so that we may all work toward a sustainable goal for our state.”