Work began Tuesday for Texas’ new Water Development Board, the group tasked with solving the state’s dire water crisis.
In the spring, lawmakers ousted the volunteer panel that was previously overseeing Texas’ water plan, saying the group was working too slowly.
On Tuesday, Governor Rick Perry swore in an entirely new board—this time paid—which will have its work cut out for it.
"The job facing these very capable individuals is simply to keep water on their minds 24/7," Perry said.
One of the board’s biggest tasks will be figuring out how to move forward if a $2 billion state water fund is approved by voters in November.
"I will tell you today that that vote for Proposition 6 could potentially be the most important vote you will make in your lifetime," Republican Sen. Troy Fraser said.
When asked about the possibility that the proposition could be voted down, new chairman of the water board and former TCEQ commissioner Carlos Rubinstein says the current situation cannot be sustained.
"Because of 2009, because of 2011, because of the drought we're living in now, we have a pretty good view of what the status quo is,” he said. “We also know what it means not to address, timely address this issue and get it right."
Billy Howe with the Texas Farm Bureau says he's confident in the new board's ability, but he says their ability is only as good as the decision voters make in November regarding the proposed water fund.
"Doing everything to pass Prop 6 not only because of the money that's been set aside for agriculture water projects, but also to reduce that competition between urban and rural with regards to the water resources that we have."
State officials say voter approval of the new water fund would finance projects for the next 50 years.
The two other members that make up the new water board are former Texas Lottery Commission Chairwoman Mary Ann Williamson and Bech Bruun, who is Perry's former director of appointments.