A proposed amendment to the Texas state constitution would create a new water infrastructure and would provide $1 billion dollars to address aging water infrastructure and gaps in access to clean drinking water, according to a press release from the Environmental Defense Fund.
Texas Proposition 6, the Creation of the Water Fund Amendment, would amend the state constitution to create the Texas Water Fund to help finance water infrastructure projects.
“If voters pass Proposition 6, it would enable significant new investments for the state’s water infrastructure,” said Jennifer Walker, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Texas Coast and Water Program. “The funds would support water loss mitigation, water conservation, aquifer storage and recovery, and other strategies that would build a more resilient water supply for Texans, as the state experiences historic growth and climate impacts.”
If passed, the $1 billion investment would mark the first time in a decade that the state has expanded funding to address long-term water infrastructure needs. Texas’s existing water infrastructure is under stress and in need of sustained investment. For example, this past summer, record heat and drought caused old pipes and water mains to break, leading to billions of gallons of water loss in major cities.
“Texas’ rural water systems are in deep disrepair,” said Vanessa Puig-Williams, director of the Texas Water Program at Environmental Defense Fund. “The Texas Water Fund is a much-needed intervention as it specifically prioritizes funding for rural communities. The fund is an important step in what needs to be a broad, creative, urgent effort to empower local communities in securing a sustainable water future.”
According to a National Wildlife Federation analysis, Texas utilities are losing about 572,000 acre-feet per year, corresponding to an average of about 51 gallons of water per service connection every day.
Over the next 20 years, the U.S. EPA estimates that Texas will need more than $60 billion in investments to fix water infrastructure
The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the state’s drinking water infrastructure a C-, noting that the state experiences a high number of boil water notices.