Why Texas needs to take a hard look at its water and sewage systems
The Texas legislature needs to fix its water, sewer, and electric systems before it goes into lockdown, says a senior Republican who is pushing the state to take drastic measures to save money and prevent more deaths from the deadly coronavirus.
Texas lawmakers are already grappling with their own financial woes, and a shutdown could be the final straw.
Greg Abbott’s (R) health insurance plan is scheduled to expire in January, and Republicans have refused to extend the program’s benefits for months.
That’s made it difficult to pay for all the services and treatments needed to keep Texans healthy and keep them safe.
The state already has spent $1.6 billion on its water systems and about $1 billion on wastewater treatment, according to a report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The state also has been hit hard by a severe drought that has caused a spike in water and sewer backups, as well as a rise in cases of severe gastroenteritis and pneumonia.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said last week that the country has surpassed a record-breaking drought, and Texas’ state auditor has warned that the state is headed for $200 billion in debt in the next decade.
To make matters worse, Texas already has some of the worst sewage and wastewater systems in the country, with its water distribution system being one of the nation’s worst.
And it has a backlog of more than 4,500 sewage overflows that have been filling up rivers and streams, leading to massive water pollution and other disasters.
A new study from the Texas Municipal League, which studies the costs of city and county services, found that the cost of fixing Texas’ aging infrastructure will be $5.8 billion, according a report released by the group Wednesday.
The report says that if the state’s water system is not fixed by April 1, the state will have to borrow $1 trillion to pay the cost.
And that could put the state in a precarious financial position for years to come.
If you want to save the state money, you have to start right now, says John P. Brown, executive director of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus.
The state has not had a shutdown in the last 40 years.
So, it would be irresponsible to do that right now,” he said.
Brown also noted that many of the bills that Texas lawmakers have passed in recent years have been revenue-raising measures that don’t address the root of the problem.
So if you’re trying to solve a problem with money, there’s not a lot of money there.
Brown added that the most effective way to address the problem would be to spend money on water and wastewater treatment.
A new study by the Urban Institute found that if all Texas residents spent the same amount on water, they would save $12 billion annually.
The government also needs to start treating wastewater that comes out of people’s taps and toilets, Brown said.
That means cleaning up after people who get sick and are dying because of it, he added.
The bill that Abbott introduced last month would provide $300 million for a water and sanitation program that would pay for wastewater treatment and disinfection.
The program would include more than 700,000 homes, schools, businesses, and government offices.
A similar bill that would fund the new water and sanitary program would also provide $100 million.
Brown said the government could use those funds to improve sewage and sewage-treatment facilities and increase the number of people with access to safe water.
But that doesn’t mean the state would get all the money it needs to repair its aging water and drainage systems.
Brown and other experts also said that any money that comes in through the program will likely be used to build other facilities to meet future demands.”
It’s going to be a massive effort, and it’s going be funded out of the pockets of people in Texas,” Brown said of the bill.”
So it’s a little bit disappointing that the governor didn’t try to do the right thing here.