State Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is encouraging Texas residents to support conscientious personal water use and a voter issue that would put $2 billion to use helping to fix the state’s water problems.
Staples, who is also running for lieutenant governor, admits neither will immediately solve the state's water woes, but it’s a good place to start.
Staples said reservoirs are at 59 percent capacity. That's down 10 percent from a year ago. He's urging Texans to scale back their own water usage, while also encouraging them to vote 'yes' on the constitutional water amendment this November.
But, his attempts to rally support come at the same time a growing grassroots movement is questioning how the state is handling the drought.
"We've been in a chronic drought situation and it's going to take a real challenge to move us beyond that," Staples said. "Proportion 6 is a big issue that Texans are going to need to focus on."
Proposition 6 will appear on ballots Nov. 5. It's part of the state's water plan, passed by the legislature during this year's session. If approved by voters, $2 billion will be taken out of the state's Rainy Day fund for water projects.
"We feel like it's a boondoggle for special interests who want to get in, get the money, build their projects, and they won’t be around when we no longer have an affordable or sustainable water supply," said Michelle Gangenes, who opposes the proposition.
Some grassroots groups are questioning the amendment, saying taxpayers shouldn't be funding private projects.
"We have water problems here and I'm not sure the state of Texas is doing the right things to solve them," Jack Roberts, another opponent, said.
Staples said people are right to question how taxpayer dollars are being spent.
"We need to make sure we don't use the Rainy Day's fund as a sludge fund," Staples said.
Still, Staples said the state can't afford to wait for enough rainy days to be out of the drought.
"The drought is a major crisis and therefore the economic stabilization fund was designed to meet our economic needs and I'm telling you that no water means no jobs," Staples said.
If you want more information on Proposition 6 or for some ideas on how you can help conserve water, you can visit texaswatersmart.com.