acre-feet for municipal and industrial use, and 1.5 million acre-feet for New Mexico. The U.S. Commission did not consider the water needs of New Mexico, but it did find that good quality water for municipal and industrial uses would be available until at least 2010. The commission further concluded that 3.2 million acres of High Plains land would revert to a non-irrigated pattern by 2010, thus adapting the land to pasture, range, and forest uses as water becomes increasingly expensive. K.N. 1.Houston Chronicle, “Senators Give Pros, Cons of Water Proposal,” July 17, 1969, p. 20. 2.Associated Press article in Houston Post, July 12, 1969. 3.Texas Water Report, July 10, 1969, p. 2. 4.Mailing, Committee of 1000 to Oppose Amendment #2,” page 5. 5.U. S. Bureau of Reclamation, Progress Report on West Texas and Eastern New Mexico Import Project Investigations, Region 5, May, 1968, p. 89. 6.Bureau of Business Research, An Economic Profile of Texas to 1990, p. 7. 7.Ibid., p. 6. 8.Ibid., p. 4. 9.Report to Stuart Udall, 1961, by Resources for Future, under signature of Joseph L. Fisher, president. `Ecological Russian Roulette’ San Antonio The Texas Water Plan is said to provide for the largest altering of the face of the earth ever undertaken by man. It is a fantastic, earth-shaking, major overhaul of the geography, topography, and ecology of a whole region. Nothing like it has ever been attempted before. The huge water jugglings of Arizona and California are completely dwarfed beside it. The destruction this plan would visit upon the natural environment of the region would constitute an awesome cost, yet the water planners seem to have made no serious attempt to deal with this factor. The Water Development Board did request a study of the effect of the plan on Texas bays, but in drawing the plan it largely ignored the serious ecological questions the report posed. No professional ecologist was among the persons drawing the plan. The only ecological study the Water Development Board requisitioned before the plan was published a study of the ways the scheme would affect Texas bays was largely ignored. Several ecological studies, including the Galveston Bay Project, have since been authorized as a result of questions raised by the plan, but none of them will be completed until 1972 or later. Yet, Texas voters are being asked to approve $3.5 billion for water development on August 5. SOME OF OUR MOST valuable natural resources are the lush, wooded lowlands and valleys, the scenic, fascinating bayous and swamps, pools and rapids of our rivers and creeks. The Texas Water Plan proposes to build about 4,500 square miles of reservoirs, which necessarily means the covering by water and the destruction of 4,500 square miles of our best lowland forests and thickets. By comparison, the largest area ever proposed for the Big Thicket park was only 156 square miles. If this relatively small Big Thicket area is so Mr. Weniger is an assistant professor of biology at Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio. He is secretary of the Committee of 1000 to Oppose Amendinent #2. 14. The Texas Observer valuable to the lumber interest that they have successfully fought its loss to their industry with every trick in the book, how is it that we can afford to have 30 times that area of prime lowland forests and fields lost to us forever by damming? Added to this, the plan would channelize and variously alter by water transporting and flood control constructions about 3,000 miles of rivers and creeks. In spite of the fine sound of the planners’ objective number 19, to “preserve Delbert Weniger and protect river reaches and springs of great scenic beauty or scientific value,” 2 it is being remarked that if the plan is implemented there will not survive in its natural state a mile of wild stream or an acre of natural river bottomland in the eastern two-thirds of Texas. This is not an overstatement. When rivers are used as canals, waters are mixed through the system, leaving nary a stream in an unmolested condition. And the water, which the water planners hope to take from the Mississippi below New Orleans, will be heavily polluted to begin with. The prospect of the elimination of the natural lowlands and river bottom environment from our experience for all time is that of a major esthetic loss. Can life be as rich for my children and their children if they can never know the teeming sights and sounds of a bayou, a swamp, or the wonder of a great Texas river running wild? And what would not be eliminated would be changed. The plan would even alter Caddo Lake. The cost of all of this loss must be figured against the plan. JUST THE PLANNED destruction outlined above will cost much more than that. This prospect is in itself a disaster to the life community of this region unparalleled in this geological period. It would wipe out millions of both plant and animal individuals, and render extinct dozens of species. It would be the eliminating of a whole segment of the living community. If we do this, can the rest survive intact and unaffected? No one who has ever had an ecological thought could imagine so. Yet the planners have not cared enough about this loss to even make studies of its effect. Can we with clear conscience become part of this destruction by voting for it? If the plan is carried out, there will be yet another loss to our living community so clear-cut and so great that ecologists and biologists are speaking out against it openly. This will be the loss to our bays and estuaries. The Texas Water Plan hinges upon the idea of taking “surplus” water out of east Texas rivers and using it in other parts of the state rather than letting it flow into the bays and on into the Gulf. Oh, we are assured that the bays will be allowed for by some water finally being passed on to them. Of the approximately 28 million acre-feet of water which flowed from undiverted Texas rivers each average year, 3 the Texas Water Plan would allow only a comparative trickle of about 2.4 million acre-feet per year to still flow into the bays. The rest is labeled “surplus” and planned to be used, reused and lost in Texas cities or in the irrigated fields of the state. What about this? Is there actually any “surplus” or wasted water running out of Texas? Not unless you count that which dilutes and sweetens the bays and estuaries of our coast as wasted. Actually, the productivity of our bays is directly related to the amount of fresh water flowing into them. The fresh river water running into the estuaries and bays provides an environment that is less saline than the gulf waters. It provides the essential nursery grounds suitable for the growth of shrimp larvae and small fish. At the same time, the salinity keeps larger predatory fish out of the area. According to the Bryant-Curlington report prepared for the Water Development Board in 1966, the current situation of our bays is as follows: “Galveston Bay provides nursery grounds for over 80% of the poundage taken as fishery products in the Gulf of Mexico adjacent to the Texas Coast. Galveston Bay has continually led the other bays in oyster production, presum
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