Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Public and private money to build Texas reservoirs?

From the June 10, 2012 issue of the Dallas Morning News ( Water sources, funding needed) - - a summary of the meeting Lewis H. McHahan, a member of the Texas Water Development Board for Dallas, had with civic and community last week.  Funding constraints and alternatives are starting to go down the path of public-private partnerships - - similar to the toll roads being build in North Texas.

From the article - -

"Elections this year mean new legislators in the 2013 session, many of them winning their seats on pledges of "no new taxes" at a time when ensuring the water supply requires billions of dollars in new construction.  The projected capital costs for the state's "recommended water management strategy" total more than $53 billion through 2060, with more than $21 billion of that needed in Region C, the Dallas-Fort Worth region.  The local portion of those costs could be around $11 billion, McMahan said, money that could be very hard to find.

Higher utility rates could fund part of the costs.  So could "tap fees" - modest charges for every water tap in your home, McMahan said.

"Other sources of money have been talked about - fees and taxes, local funding, even private funds like we've used to build toll roads - public and private money to build reservoirs," he said.  "These are foreign to what we've done in the past, but they're things we need to talk about if we're going to stay in front of our water needs."

The immediate need is focusing on two or three funding ideas that could be presented to the Legislature in its 2013 session, he said.  And failing to find ways to provide more water will come with a stiff cost as well - a potential $50 billion loss in regional income by 2060, and the loss of more than half-million jobs, according to Texas Water Development Board data."

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