- Opposition to gay marriage, and
- Unregulated ground water.
- The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB = California's DWR and SWRCB) monitors groundwater with its own wells.
- Texas has Groundwater Management Areas (GMAs) for the whole state.
- These GMAs are required to file a report "defining future conditions" for their groundwater, i.e., their aspirations -- NOT projections -- for future levels.
Texas still suffers from several familiar problems:
Addressing the water crisis in western Hays County falls to a tiny governmental entity with one full-time employee, five volunteer elected directors, a volunteer geologist, and an $150,000 annual budget. The Hays-Trinity Groundwater Conservation District is one of 96 districts in Texas covering roughly half the state's landmass. The districts are supposed to be all that stands in the way of the rule of capture, the unique Texas law that essentially says you can pump as much water as you like, your neighbor's well or stream be damned. If you can pump it, it's yours.Did Green's 2002 defeat at the hands of Patrick Rose change things? Nope -- Rose is a real estate developer.
To combat the inevitable depredations of the rule of capture, most of Texas' groundwater districts can collect taxes, meter wells, set minimum distances between wells, issue permits, and impose pumping limits. The Hays district has few of these powers...
Green's 1999 legislation exempted agricultural and single-family residential wells in the district from regulation -- 98 percent of an estimated 6,500 wells. The district has some authority over water utilities, which provide about half the water in the district. But developers are taking advantage of the district's generous exceptions by building small, dense developments that require homeowners to provision their own individual, exempt wells [The same problem that Arizona has]. Another perverse provision of the legislation provides that funding for the district primarily comes from a $300 fee on new wells [i.e., it -- like Vegas -- makes money from licensing new wells/development].
Oh, and the government -- like the government of California -- continues to suffer the delusion that ground and surface waters are NOT connected. For more on that batshit crazy policy (and underfunding of GMAs), read this EDF briefing [pdf].
Bottom Line: Texans -- like many in the western US -- are destroying their present and future by mining their groundwater. Their land will be worth less, their environment will be damaged, and their children sad -- unless they restrict ground water withdrawals to sustainable yields.