Voters will decide on $2 billion water plan in November

Published: Oct. 17, 2013 at 10:29 PM CDT|Updated: Dec. 16, 2013 at 11:30 PM CST
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(KLTV) - A group of local engineers met Thursday to discuss an issue that will be on ballots statewide in just three weeks.

Proposition 6 is an amendment to the Texas Constitution that would set aside $2 billion from the state's rainy day fund to help address the growing demand for water.

It's something engineers are calling the most important of Texas' nine proposed amendments, but whether or not to approve the plan is up to voters.

"We take water for granted," American Society of Civil Engineers member Vik Verma said. "We turn on the tap and it's there, but that's not always going to be the case. With the growth of our state, it could happen. We could turn on our water and nothing be there."

Estimates show 88% of the state is currently under a drought, with some West Texas towns already facing water rationing. If not fixed, engineers predict a ripple effect—not just in East Texas, but statewide as well.

"We have fast growing state as a whole," Verma said. "We're growing here in East Texas as well. The business community, when they look to build a business and they see water shortages and water problems, they won't come here. It's an infrastructure issue."

But it's a proposal East Texas representative David Simpson voted against the measure, specifically stating that the government should not intervene in the market and that "this proposal jeopardizes the ability for East Texas to protect its resources from being taken away by force."

However, the Texas Farm Bureau supports it and engineers said East Texas farmers would feel the sting first if not passed.

"When they have a shortage of water, they don't have enough water for crops and to provide for animals they have," Verma said. "They're probably as hard hit a group in this state as any."

It's a multi-billion dollar decision coming soon to ballots near you. The measure will be up for voters to decide on November 5. Early voting begins on Monday.

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