Proposition 6 Questions & Answers
What does Proposition 6 do?
Proposition 6 is a constitutional amendment that establishes a State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT). Contingent on the passage of the amendment, $2 billion will be transferred from the State’s Economic Stabilization Fund to the SWIFT.
How will the money be used?
The money can only be used to support projects identified in the State Water Plan. The Water Development Board, the state agency that administers the fund, must attempt to spend 10% of the funds for rural political subdivisions and agricultural water conservation and 20% for water conservation and reuse. The money may be used for low-interest loans, credit enhancement agreements, deferral of interest obligations, and other methods of financial assistance for public entities developing and managing water supplies.
How will the spending be prioritized?
Both regional planning groups and the state must prioritize projects when they are needed, project viability, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness. The highest priority must be given to projects that serve a large population, promote regionalization, and have a large local contribution.
Is this a long-term plan?
Yes. It is expected that this infusion of funds can be loaned, repaid, and re-loaned, providing a replenishing fund to support most of the State Water Plan needs for the next 50 years.
Why is this needed?
Texas population is expected to double over the next 40 years. With current groundwater supplies declining, certain areas of the state will experience significant shortages in the absence of developing new supplies. The State Water Plan encompasses over 4500 projects with a range of strategies including reuse, conservation, new reservoirs, development of new groundwater supplies, desalination, and more. Without new supplies, another major drought could be devastating to Texas’ economy and jobs.
Will Texas voters get a chance to decide on Proposition 6?
Yes, in order to go into effect, this comprehensive program requires passage of an amendment to the Texas Constitution. The first step was completed in May 2013 when an overwhelming, bi-partisan majority of the Texas Legislature approved the bill and set the matter for a vote by the people on November 2013. Final passage of Proposition 6 will require the support of a majority of Texas voters this November.
When will the election be held?
Texas voters will be given the chance to pass Proposition 6, along with eight other proposed constitutional amendments, on November 5, 2013. Voters over the age of 65 are automatically eligible to vote by absentee ballot and most Texans can vote early by checking with their local authority to determine dates, times and locations.
Reminder: this will be the first election where Texas’ new photo identification requirement will be implemented for those voting in person.