Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 3:58 pm
Half of Texas is experiencing drought conditions, and for the third year in a row, rice farmers in Central Texas may be cut off from water supplies because of severe drought.
The Lower Colorado River Authority has asked the state to approve emergency plans to cut water to farmers in 2014 if reservoir lakes are at less than 55 percent capacity. The lakes are currently 36 percent full.
Homes and businesses would also face water restrictions.
Matagorda is just another small Texas town, but its bay is one of the key areas in the state for oyster harvesting and processing. It’s also where the mouth of the Colorado River feeds into the Gulf of Mexico, which creates a unique habitat for animals that survive within a careful balance of fresh and salt water.
The area has been hit hard in recent years by drought, and the lack of rainfall has also taken its toll on the aquatic life, whose survival depends on the fresh water to lower the salinity levels of the bay, which is where shrimp hatch and oysters reproduce.
The League of Women Voters in Texas is urging a "yes" vote on Prop. 6, the constitutional amendment that will take $2 billion from the state's Rainy Day Fund to create a sort of bank account to fund water projects.
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan group that works to get people to become active in their government and to get out the vote. It does not support one candidate or party over others, but does take positions on issues.
Fronteras: Activists are calling on President Obama to take administrative action to stop deportations as the chance of Congress passing a reform bill this year wanes. Hundreds of vulnerable towns in New Mexico are trying to avoid running out of water during this drought. We’ll hear about the challenges foreign doctors face when they come to the U.S. Also, a report on an award by the Hopi Foundation in Arizona for people who work with victims of torture to help them heal.
A coalition of people from multiple political backgrounds are calling for Texans to vote "no" on Prop. 6, the plan that is being promoted by a bipartisan group of state legislators and Gov. Rick Perry as the solution to the state's water problems.
Voters will see the measure on the ballot starting next Monday when early voting begins and Election Day in Nov. 5.
If passed, the plan set into motion by Prop. 6 will move $2 billion from the state's Rainy Day Fund to the Texas Water Development Board to be used for loans on water projects.
Texas Matters: There is finally movement on the government shutdown in D.C. but Democrats say it's not enough. While there is plenty of support for Prop. 6, the November ballot item to establish a water fund, there is also a strong current of opposition. Also on this show: GOP candidates in Texas try to stay true to fundamentals and appeal to Latino voters, and the future of execution drugs used in Texas.
Is the end of the government shutdown finally in sight?
Fronteras: The low income San Diego neighborhood of Barrio Logan, which is closely linked to the shipbuilding industry, has been largely ignored by the city until residents fought maritime industry for a new community plan, and won. Under the Affordable Care Act, Native Americans are exempt from the mandate that requires citizens to get health insurance, but that hasn’t stopped New Mexico from trying to get consumers covered. Also, how the drought has forced some Native farmers to consider non- traditional irrigation methods and a rarely used desalting plant in Yuma could start sending water to Mexico.
The Bexar County Commissioners Court and legislative delegation are urging voters to support a state constitutional amendment that would fund water projects for the state.
Commissioners and legislators used a hot sunny day to ask for support for the creation of a State Water Implementation Fund, which is on this year's Nov. 5 ballot as Proposition 6.
“The time to address our state water problems is now before the faucets run dry,” said state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, who along with house colleges urged voters to vote in favor of Prop 6.
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.