A Historic Opportunity for Funding Water Infrastructure in Texas

Proposition 6 would create a $1 billion Texas Water Fund

October 16, 2023
Jonathan Seefeldt, (512)-412-2540, jseefeldt@edf.org

(AUSTIN, October 16, 2023) —Texas voters will have a chance to weigh in on securing safe, clean, and accessible drinking water for communities statewide. Proposition 6 would amend the state constitution  to create the Texas Water Fund and provide $1 billion dollars to address aging water infrastructure and gaps in access to clean drinking water. 

The National Wildlife Federation and the Environmental Defense Fund have a long track record of educating the public on water supply and infrastructure issues. “If voters pass Proposition 6, it would enable significant new investments for the state’s water infrastructure,” said Jennifer Walker, director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Texas Coast and  Water Program. “The funds would support water loss mitigation, water conservation, aquifer storage and recovery, and other strategies that would build a more resilient water supply for Texans, as the state experiences historic growth and climate impacts.”

If passed, the $1 billion investment would mark the first time in a decade that the state has expanded funding to address long-term water infrastructure needs. Texas’s existing water infrastructure is under stress and in need of sustained investment. For example, this past summer, record heat and drought caused old pipes and water mains to break, leading to billions of gallons of water loss in major cities. 

“Texas’ rural water systems are in deep disrepair,” said Vanessa Puig-Williams, director of the Texas Water Program at Environmental Defense Fund. “The Texas Water Fund is a much-needed intervention as it specifically prioritizes funding for rural communities. The fund is an important step in what needs to be a broad, creative, urgent effort to empower local communities in securing a sustainable water future.”

  • According to a National Wildlife Federation analysis, Texas utilities are losing about 572,000 acre-feet per year, corresponding to an average of about 51 gallons of water per service connection every day.
  • Over the next 20 years, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Texas will need more than $60 billion in investments to fix water infrastructure
  • The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the state’s drinking water infrastructure a C-, noting that the state experiences a high number of boil water notices. 

The funds could also be used to support controversial projects such as water desalination along the Gulf Coast. NWF and EDF will continue to advocate for strategies that make the best use of our existing water supplies, including conservation and reuse.   

For reporters interested in groundwater and rural water issues, please contact Jonathan Seefeldt to reach EDF's Texas Water Program, at jseefeldt@edf.org or 512-412-2540.   

For reporters interested in urban infrastructure issues, please contact Amal Ahmed to reach NWF’s Texas Coast and Water program, at Ahmeda@nwf.org or 469-554-9749.

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