In Texas, water policy is a front burner political issue

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is setting up a run for lieutenant governor. Making the rounds, he ended up this week in the dry parts of the state, where folks naturally asked him about water:

“When I talk to companies about them expanding in Texas or moving to Texas,” he said, “inevitably two questions come about: What’s Texas going to do about its water needs and what is Texas going to do to have a skilled and available work force?”

Pointing to area’s struggles with the Texas drought, Staples said the solution can’t just be to restrict usage.

“Last decade, we had 1,200 people a day move to Texas,” Staples said. “This decade, we’re going to have 1,500 people a day moving to Texas. Having an available water supply is critical to the future of our state’s economic growth. Having an available water supply means jobs.”

He cited a number of routes for improving water resources, including improved irrigation techniques, developing plants that are drought resistant as well as pest resistant and using low-cost natural gas or excess wind energy to fuel desalination plants to treat brackish water to make it usable.

My point in bringing this up is not to argue that there’s anything particularly special about Staples’ policy prescriptions. Rather, it’s the fact that a statewide Texas candidate making the rounds has a water schtick at all, that it’s on the agenda.

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