Gov. Rick Perry today visited Lake Travis to encourage public support of Proposition 6 to fund the state water plan. As a result of the current drought, Lake Travis now sits just six feet above its historic low level, leaving large swaths of land normally covered by water now exposed in the lake bed. Gov. Perry was joined by Sen. Kirk Watson, Rep. Paul Workman and Goldthwaite City Manager Rob Lindsey.
"Prop. 6 presents us with a historic opportunity to fund water projects that will ensure we have the water we need to grow and thrive, for the next five decades," Gov. Perry said. "We're talking about projects like new reservoirs, state-of-the-art desalination plants, and utilizing new technology to conserve and re-use current supplies. This is simply too vital an issue, and too narrow a window of opportunity, to come up short on the brink of meeting our water needs."
With voter approval on Nov. 5, Prop. 6 will authorize a one-time, $2 billion transfer from the Rainy Day Fund to create the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT). No state taxes will increase as a result of creating this fund. The SWIFT will leverage funding up to $30 billion in water projects over five decades, effectively fulfilling the state's portion of water plan funding. This constitutional amendment would require the regional and statewide prioritization of water projects provided in the plan and would make the financing of these projects more affordable, enabling local communities to access cost-effective interest rates to invest in water needs.
Last week, Gov. Perry renewed the state's disaster declaration for drought to include 240 of Texas' 254 counties. Additionally, the state's ongoing economic success has led to rapid population growth, which is placing more demand on the state's water supplies and infrastructure. The population of the Austin metropolitan area is expected to more than double by 2060, while existing water supplies in the state are projected to decrease by 10 percent.
Gov. Perry recently visited O.C. Fisher Reservoir in San Angelo to highlight the importance of meeting the state's growing water needs. The reservoir is less than one percent full and without additional rainfall, the city has just 15 months of developed water supply left. The SWIFT would allow communities like San Angelo to finance needed water projects laid out in the state water plan.