State leaders urge passage of water plan - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

State leaders urge passage of water plan

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AMARILLO - Despite recent rainfall, the drought in the panhandle is far from over. Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus made a stop in Amarillo today to discuss a proposed solution to the state wide water crisis.

Come November, Texans will have the final say on a plan that made to ensure a sufficient water supply for years to come. Speaker Straus joined over two dozen local business and community leaders today to tout the importance of Proposition 6. "Panhandle residents know all too well about the devastating effects of the drought," Straus said. Proposition 6 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would take $2 billion from the state's rainy day fund to kick start close to $30 billion worth of water projects.

The rainy day fund consists mostly of tax revenues from oil and gas. Straus says Proposition 6 would come at no cost to tax payers. "It will be used as a revolving fund to kick start and provide seed capitol for water projects that have to make financial sense on their own," Straus said. The state's Water Development board will prioritize projects across the state; projects that will likely include new pipelines and reservoirs.

Local water districts and municipalities will plan projects suited for their region, and oversee the financing. Panhandle representatives say the change will be historic if passed. "We will see that we have found a way to a sustainable financing solution to our water crisis that will effect economies," Representative Four Price said. "We're going to vote for it, the problem is going to be getting our voters out to vote," Representative John Smithee. Most of the panhandle remains in a severe to exceptional drought.

Making it important, Straus says, for panhandle voters to make their voices heard in November. "We really can't afford not to confront our water problems in Texas," he said. Election day is November 5th and early voting starts October 21st.