LANDGRAF: A path forward to unlocking Texas’ water future

By State Rep. Brooks Landgraf

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink… These timeless words from the ancient mariner resonate with profound irony as today we face the challenges and opportunities surrounding water management in our great state of Texas.

While we are surrounded by vast reserves of water, particularly here in the Permian Basin, the reality is that much of it remains inaccessible or unfit for consumption or other productive uses. Yet, we find ourselves on the cusp of transformative change, poised to unlock the potential of these untapped resources and ensure a sustainable water future for generations to come.

As our state collectively embarks on this incredible undertaking, it is imperative that we confront the complexities of water management with clarity, courage, and collaboration. From the responsible disposal of produced water to the restoration of groundwater resources, our efforts will shape the course of our state’s water landscape for years to come. And with landmark initiatives like Proposition 6 paving the way for unprecedented investment in water infrastructure, the time is ripe for bold action and visionary leadership.

Prop 6 was approved by Texas voters this past November, allocating $1 billion to the Texas Water Fund, a critical investment in addressing our state’s water needs. This fund, administered by the Texas Water Development Board, will provide financing for essential water projects, from supply development to infrastructure repair. With this significant infusion of funding, communities across Texas will have the resources needed to modernize aging and dilapidated water systems, enhance conservation efforts, and bolster resilience against drought and other water-related challenges.

As a proud co-sponsor of Prop 6, I can attest that the leaders in the Texas Capitol are committed to meeting the water needs of Texans, now and in the future. The Texas Water Fund represents a historic step towards investing in the long-term sustainability of our water resources and safeguarding the health and prosperity of our state.

I recall vividly the water line break in Odessa a couple of years ago, a stark reminder of how crucial water is, particularly in our arid region. And earlier this week, the City of Odessa issued a boil water notice due to electrical issues at a pump station in northern Odessa which resulted in a temporary drop in water pressure. Thankfully, swift resolution of the problem and subsequent water testing led to the prompt lifting of the recent notice.

Incidents like these are why I continue championing the establishment of the Texas STRONG Defense Fund, an initiative aimed at supporting our state’s energy industry and investing in the communities that power it. If enacted, this comprehensive legislation will provide essential funding for economic development, public safety, emergency response, healthcare services, AND infrastructure improvements in energy-producing regions like our own. I also made sure that Texas STRONG would include more funding for the state’s Oil and Gas Cleanup Account, which is used to plug orphaned wells and clean up Texas air and groundwater contamination.

The Texas STRONG Defense Fund proposal, which I filed in 2023, received overwhelming support in the Texas House of Representatives. While it didn’t receive a vote in the Senate, I remain committed to pushing it forward in the next legislative session.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “when the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” Thanks to the collective efforts of Texans and collaboration between legislators, we are learning this lesson before the well goes dry. Together, we are ensuring there will be water everywhere, and more than enough for everyone to drink.

God bless Texas!