calling all Tank Girls

Chair Jim Keffer is retiring and he wants to make sure that he leaves behind a legacy of people who care about water. there have been a number of interim hearings regarding the State Water Plan, irrigation, water resources, interstate compacts, environmental flows and water markets. if that last one doesn’t scream To the Bat Tank! to you, I don’t know what will and you might just be on the wrong blog.

two separate hearings covered water planning today which means Belle spent most of the day googling Tank Girl gifs.

the first was a joint hearing of the House Agriculture & Livestock and Natural Resources Committees concerning agricultural water sources which, in Texas, accounts for 60-65% of the fresh water we use every year. ranchers and farmers have the largest incentive to be water wise, so they spent a lot of time talking about new tech which could help .

the problem with this plan is that many of the smaller operations can’t afford the new tech, don’t qualify for grants or would be further set back by paying interest on SWIFT loans. to make some of these loans more accessible they may create a subprogram that is run directly out of TDA or the State Water Development Board which would reduce interest because you wouldn’t be paying a municipality or county government and reduce the amount of any grant to a size that is more reasonable to the operation applying for one. no one sees a downside to this. if you do, please say so below in Cafe Amphibrach.

the input from the invited witnesses was well thought out and appreciated. special points to Kody Bessent of Plains Cotton Growers for coming prepared. also, the Corn Producers Association of Texas has managed to use water at a 90% efficiency rate–reducing its overall use by 11% while increasing yields by 16%. bravo!

sounds a bit kumbaya for this place, what gives?

just laying the ground that it was a very nice hearing when Rep. David Simpson wasn’t talking–because, woo doggy, was he more off than he usually is.

things you might want to know about David Simpson:

• he’s one of the few allies that Jonathan “Sticky” Stickland has and is a member of the Liberty Caucus.

• he challenged Joe Straus’ re-election to Speaker of the House in 2013, but withdrew before balloting even began.

filed a bill to decriminalize marijuana last year, but didn’t garner much support because there were a bunch of “baby steps” bills and “If god didn’t want us to have it, why would he make it?” is not exactly the best argument.

• would like marriage to be privatized.

it seems like he’s been not only advocating for marijuana, but maybe? might be? could be? using it as well. I mean, he was a bit dopey before, but now he’s just making no sense whatsoever. in the hearing, he had a couple notable interjections:

upon hearing the word vulcanization, Rep. Simpson free associated himself over to the Declaration of Independence. from there, he decided that we should know that property IS the pursuit of happiness and vice-a-versa because “it is the fruit of our labors and liberty is private property”. that’s a direct quote. 

then he wanted to know that he thought the BEST METHOD for managing scarce resources was to “let the free market take the wheel” rather than the state having a water plan at all. many salient details missing. see what I mean?

about 20 minutes later he wanted us all to know: he was born in Lubbock. he met his wife in Lubbock. and, when he was 6, he got 5 gallons of ice cream in Lubbock. which he believes has something to do with the use of gray water and how he majored in philosophy. SEE WHAT I MEAN?


shortly before the end of the hearing, Rep. Larson interjected that he believed there may be “turf watering” going on–you’d think this would be about football fields, but, in context, it sounded like he meant “turf war”. we’ll get back to him in a minute.

the second hearing was House Natural Resources all by its lonesome. it was also Chair Keffer’s final hearing. SAD! this time the subject was fresh water loss. and, hold on Rep. Larson, we have some people to thank for knowing their stuff:

Dr. Robert Mace of A&M’s AgriLife Extension

Ken Kramer of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

David Lindsay of the Central Texas Water Coalition

thanks for being awesome.

alright Rep. Larson:

knows some things about water, but has difficulty sharing with future generations.

example: he once had trouble grasping the notion that the State Archives is a better place for the William B. Travis letter to reside. he would like it made available on a more regular basis at the Alamo–which is not climate controlled. he justified this by the fact that he could see the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence at the National Archives in DC. (yes, he did step in that.) and, because National Archives, he’d like the letter to be permanently on tour or at least until it disintegrates.

example: in a previous water hearing he didn’t understand why we couldn’t use all the aquifer water even though the vast majority of them take lifetimes to recharge once emptied.

he also may want to consider leaving the metaphors to others.

and Chair Keffer made fun of him in the previous hearing while he was out of the room saying that Rep. Larson would “probably like to know if he can get [agricultural weather monitoring] in the same package as he got ESPN with”. (or something like that.)

here’s how he stepped in it all throughout the hearing:

Rep. Larson has been told in no uncertain terms in multiple hearings that the water that flows out of the state is by and large required to flow out of the state to a) maintain the ecosystems along the Gulf Coast or b) to meet our contractual obligations related to interstate compacts. AND HE STILL WANTS TO SUCK UP ALL THE WATER AND PUT IT IN TANKS SO THEY CAN SELL IT BACK TO US LATER.

not long after that, Rep. Larson has altered his description. he still wants to SUCK UP ALL THE WATER, but now he wants to put it in the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer. (it’s not a horrible idea as long as it’s not ALL the water, we get more comprehensive information about the formation’s geology and it’s maintained publicly.) the problem  with it was that he decided to call this “like the Manhattan Project”…but for water? don’t really want to be thinking about atomic bombs every time I get a drink of water or wash the dishes or take a shower.

like I said: Rep. Larson needs to say no to the metaphors.

the one other really laughable part of this hearing was when half the panel–who have, remember, been hearing about water stuff for the better part of 2 years–heard “NOAA” and were all: Noah? who’s Noah?


before we leave, let us all thank Chair Keffer for the service of noticing that the climate is, in fact, changing; that we have a lot of people moving here; and that we need to do something about water. he will be missed and so will his Casual Friday duds.


cheers and goodnight!





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