Texas Water: LWV-TX Position

LWVTX Position on Water [As amended 1971, 1974, 1978, and 2012]

The League of Women Voters of Texas supports the proposition that water is a natural resource and should be managed for the benefit of the people and the protection of the environment. Further, water conservation should be mandatory, with adequate citizen education for effective water stewardship.

The League of Women Voters of Texas supports longrange state water planning that:

  • takes into consideration its social, economic, environmental, and land use implications
  • provides for development of adequate water supplies by ecologically and financially sound means
  • emphasizes conservation and reuse of water is based on increased research concerning wise and efficient use of the state’s land and water resources
  • affords protection for the land and for fragile ecosystems
  • establishes water availability criteria before issuing any leases, permits and licenses for new industry, business, housing, and other developments.

The League of Women Voters of Texas supports measures for the protection, conservation, and development of the groundwater resources of the state as an integral part of the comprehensive state water plan, and groundwater management that would achieve the following objectives:

  • maintain groundwater quality by preventing harmful contamination of aquifers
  • assure the long‐term productivity of the state’s groundwater resources and availability of groundwater supplies
  • minimize adverse effects of groundwater withdrawals, including land subsidence and reduction of spring flows

 Water resources planning should also include the following:

  • detailed information concerning:
    • the hydraulic characteristics and recharge of the state’s aquifers
    • quantities, locations, and trends of groundwater withdrawals
    • measures that could conserve and extend existing supplies
    • current and projected costs of ground water and alternative surface water supplies
    • potential conjunctive use of ground water and surface water
  • management options developed specifically for each area of the state where ground water is a significant resource and assurance that water transfers to urban areas do not endanger future rural economies.
  • methods to strengthen groundwater conservation districts so they can continue to regulate groundwater use.
  • full public consideration of groundwater management options including a strong state agency with enforcement powers to regulate all water transfers.
  • recommendations of measures to be taken by the state, by political subdivisions of the state, and by the private sector to assure wise management of the state’s groundwater resources.
  • coordination of state plans for groundwater management with relevant policies and programs of the federal government and of other states.

 Adequate funds should be appropriated for planning and for management of the state’s groundwater resources.


 

Water as a Commodity?

LWV-Texas Enhances Position on Water

In January 2012 a new League position on this issue was approved by the LWV-Texas board. This position reflects statewide member consensus on Water as a Commidity, reached after a 2011 study to update the LWV-Texas Water position to consider the competition for water in Texas, including governmental policy, public interest rights, and water resource protection concerns.

Study Scope:

  • Analyze current state regulations that govern the sale or transfer of water rights
  • Consider ramifications if Texas were to classify water as a commodity rather than a natural resource
  • Explore options such as a state-run water marketing administration
  • Assess laws that would be needed for interstate or international water transfers
  • Assess the best use of our water (i.e., public interest concerns, environmental factors, effect on third parties, future water requirements)

Members were called upon to answer four key questions:

  • Should water be regulated differently from oil and gas?
  • Our opinions on the “rule of capture” and groundwater conservation districts.
  • Should water be transferred to dry areas of the state from areas with more water resources? How should it be done?
  • Should groundwater be regulated the same as surface water, or should different rules apply?

Want to Read More?

Background Paper with Facts & Issues on the management of Texas Water Resources

Download here.