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‘ A Ai l ….T___, …–c…..-2. .”?_.. 1111!!’ OBSERVER A Journal of Free Voices A Window to the South September 17, 1976 5O Get ready for Water Plan #2 Austin A coalition of environmentalists and fiscal conservatives is out to bushwhack the Texas Water Development Board’s $400 million bond proposal, which is up for approval on the Nov. 2 ballot. Humorist John Henry Faulk is heading up Citizens Against Water Taxes, a group organized to fight passage of Proposition One. \(The group is not opposing Proposition Two, which would authorize an additional $100 million in sewer treatment bonds for “2,22 Faulk says that Proposition One is another attempt to fund the old Texas Water Plan, this time on a step-by-step basis rather than in one big package. In 1969, Texas voters defeated a $3.5 billion water plan proposal by a 6,000-vote margin statewide. This scheme, which the Observer called “the biggest boondoggle in history” major river in the state via a concrete ditch designed to transport Mississippi River water 2,000 miles to West Texas. The ’69 water importation scheme was so controversial that the Legislature specifically prohibited using any of the new bond money “for development of water resources of the Mississippi River.” Environmental lobbyists got the prohibition inserted in November’s bond resolution, but they failed to extend the ban to tributaries of the Mississippi or to any other river. Legislators also stipulated that in the future a majority of the House and Senate must okay the entire statewide water plan or specifically approve any expenditure of more than $35 million on a single water development project funded by the proposed new bonds. This means that in November Texas voters will be asked to approve a $400 million bond program which will help finance a water plan that has yet to be revealed. But there are some clues as to what the plan might entail. Executive Director James M. Rose told the Associated Press in April that the board has abandoned the idea of importing water from the Mississippi. He said they are now considering tying into a proposed canal that would bring water from southeastern Oklahoma to that state’s arid western region near Altus. Oklahoma’s $1.7 billion “Southern Interconnected System” might be able to provide Texas \(and maybe acre-feet of surplus water a year, but that’s not enough to keep the irrigated farms in the Texas High Plains green. So Rose said he is also looking to Arkansas for additional water. Members of Citizens Against Water Taxes suspect that the TWDB will never again submit a complete Texas Water Plan to voters for approval because the cost $20 to $30 billion perhapsis so staggering. But the TWDB is obviously still thinking grandly about irrigation canals to West Texas and to the Rio Grande Valley and perhaps aboUt Dallas’ beloved Trinity barge canal. Brown & Root, the giant Houston construction firm, has a $69,000 contract to study and update the cost estimates of the “West Texas and Eastern New Mexico Water Import Study,” a project proposed by the U.S. Corps of Engineers in 1973. The report is due on Sept. 30. 40,5=7.0 ^