Texas Ag Commissioner Pushes Water Conservation To Save Highland Lakes
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is strongly urging cities and all households, especially those in the Highland Lakes region, to adopt his “Texas Water Smart” program to conserve water and reduce the need for the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to shut off the flow of water downstream.
As Texas continues to battle the effects of a drought, farmers are losing crops or dropping out of the business, and Lower Colorado River Authority has a request to cease the flow of water downstream headed into Matagorda Bay.
Staples said, “Agriculture suffers first and worst in any drought, but communities are being impacted today. [The Texas Agriculture Commission has] given over two-dozen emergency disaster grants to communities that are facing being completely out of water within a 180 days.”
Staples, who is running for lieutenant governor in 2014, said if the Highland Lakes region doesn’t see a significant downpour in the next few months, water levels at Lakes Travis and Buchanan will be at an all-time low--which is around 30 percent full--and that affects the lives of people all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Statewide, Texas Reservoirs are at a 59-percent capacity.
Staples explained, “Our rice farmers need water for that commodity. We don't want to have to rely on foreign food.”
“You can all make a difference," Staples said, addressing residents. "Twenty-six million Texans by a few drops saved each daily can add up to real water savings. And it’s something we need to practice every day because our state is facing economic consequences of major proportions if we have more severe water restrictions.”
Staples is also engaging the petroleum industry, which uses large quantities of water for “fracking." He’s hoping this dialogue will urge these companies to update their technology to recycle fracking water. For now, he’s urging everyone else to sign up for the Texas Water Smart program, which sends conservation tips and drought alerts for no cost.