Have Your Water and Drink It Too

Can the state save water and money at the same time?

Austin Sen. Kirk Watson thinks he's come up with a way to promote water conservation in Texas without requiring the state to spend more money (although it could cost Texas some tax revenue). His Senate Bill 449, co-authored with Wichita Falls Republican Craig Estes, would add "water stewardship" to the list of uses qualifying a piece of property for an agricultural exemption on property taxes. The change ultimately would have to be approved by voters as a constitutional amendment. To qualify, landowners would have to take specific actions such as controlling erosion or restoring native aquatic species. They could also donate their water rights to the Texas Water Trust, a state agency. Both rural and urban properties could qualify. "This bill gives Texas another path to meeting the extensive demands on our water supply that we know we'll face in coming decades," said Watson in a press release. "It would harness the power of the private sector – and the conscientious stewardship of Texas landowners – to improve water quality and quantity for all of us."

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Kirk Watson, Legislature, water conservation, Craig Estes, Texas Water Trust

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