When it comes to water in Texas, unless you’re a farmer, most people in the state don’t care.
A public opinion poll conducted by faculty members at the University of Texas in association with the Texas Tribune found that the economy, immigration and education are top of mind for most, yet water registers as a top issue with only 4 percent.
Mike Barnett with the Texas Farm Bureau said that rural Texans understand burn bans, dry wells and short pastures. Drought is not a word, it’s a reality they live with every day. He added that for most urban Texans, water is something that comes out of the tap -- every time.
There’s plenty to keep the lawn green, and there’s plenty to keep the pool brimming. Urban areas are an oasis in a sea of Texas brown. And that’s a dangerous mirage for our future.
The Texas legislature is paying attention, and both Texas House and Senate leadership have expressed the need this session to kick start the plan with revenue from the Rainy Day Fund.
But there’s also a danger.
Agriculture is still the top water user in the state, and Barnett said that as water gets more expensive and sources disappear, a clamor could arise to take agriculture’s water, drying up livelihoods, a rich agriculture heritage and ultimately, the food supply.