Making Democracy Work

Clean Water

Testimony of LWV Dallas On Region C Water Plan

August 21, 2015

The League of Women Voters of Dallas opposes new reservoirs for Region C until some of the many other conservation and strategies for water security have been instigated. We are the largest consumers of water in the state, but we do not have either the largest population or the most efficient water usage programs in the state.

Since the Texas Water Development Board does not recognize or study the impacts of climate changes on our weather systems, it seems that our region should at least consider our practices and implementation of our reservoir, groundwater, and other supplies that we already have in place.

After the 2015 Spring's happy, but unusual, rainfall, the typical hot weather has returned. Thus, while we are quickly emptying our reservoirs of "excess" water and sending it downstream to the Gulf as fast as possible, the long term effects of hotter global temperatures (including Region C) will mean higher evaporation rates. These rates will, in turn, cause even higher rates as water in reservoirs, streams, rivers, etc. begin to shrink.

Taking land, homes and jobs from people who do not even live in our water planning area because of our refusal to choose the many other alternatives and nearby reservoirs suggested in our own Region C Water Planning Group's plan appendix is neither economically nor morally justified. New reservoirs cost multi-millions of dollars and take 30-50 years to build. As taxpayers we should be well informed about all the alternatives before we ask state and local residents to fund the most expensive proposals for insuring the water survival of our region to the degradation of other regions.

The New York Times today quotes Noah Diffenbaugh, the climate scientist at Stanford University, who that states the League position plainly: "... the whole water system we have now...was designed for the old climate. Just from the temperature changes"- ignoring El Niño and other weather cycles - "we are in a new climate. The water system was not built for the climate we have now."

While Diffenbaugh is focused on California, Texas is in a similar situation with regard to our planning processes. We cannot keep ignoring our extravagant water wasteful ways and hoping that we can "build" our way out at any price by jeopardizing the economies of our region or that of our neighbors in East Texas.