Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rehydrating Texas: Regulatory Reform to Keep Water Flowing for Texans

"This same Hezekiah also stopped the water outlet of Upper Gihon, and brought the water by tunnel[a] to the west side of the City of David. Hezekiah prospered in all his works."
2 Chronicles 32:30

Texas State Capitol -- Over the last 15 years Texas has made great strides to ensure that the state’s water resources remain flowing and accessible for a growing number of Texans. The financing has been addressed, the plans have been laid out, and the environmental concerns have been considered. The 84th Legislature now has the opportunity to finish the state’s comprehensive water package by removing regulatory impediments to the free development, management, and trade of surface and groundwater. There is light at the end of the tunnel!

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream


Toby Baker (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality):
  • Water is a major point of contention like air used to be.
  • The drought got going in late 2010
    • 2011 dryest year in state's history.
  • The rain we get now gets instantly soaked into the super dry soil.
  • Over 1000 public water systems are in some stage of drought.
Kathleen Hartnett White (TPPF):
  • For the market to function, you need clear property rights.
  • "Management" is a euphemism for regulation.
  • Can't do a lot about complex permitting at the Federal Level.
James Lee Murphy (Guadelupe/Blanco River Authority):
  •  Lack of legislative clarity hurts ability to meet water needs.
  • The basic question: Do we need new water?!?
  • We don't have a commodity market in Water.
Russell Johnson (Austin Water Attorney):
  • Groundwater conservation districts (GCD) need to protect the rights of landowners.
  • Vast majority of GCD's under 20 years old.  
  • GCD's are like teenagers with keys to car, liquor cabinet, and gun cabinet in terms of how they protect property rights.
  • The state has created 98 separate TCEQ's with substantial regulatory authority and virtually no oversight.
  • Texas has more groundwater to access than any state except Alaska, but unelected boards and commissions restrict access.
  • Shouldn't be able to hold up projects 7-8 years.
  • GCD's rewards legacy producers.

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