A potential water proposal could ruin many Texas rice farmers, industry spokespeople said earlier this week. The deal in question regards the lower Colorado River and farmer’s access to it in the midst of the worst drought in recent Texas history.
The drought, which has been ongoing since last year, has devastated the state’s economy. Over 98 percent of Texas is suffering from severe to extreme drought conditions. Texas farm revenues are down billions of dollars and the state economy is poised to suffer severe hardships because of this lost revenue.
In the light of the drought and the accompanying water shortages, state officials have planned to cut off farmers’’ access to water in the lower Colorado River if reservoirs remain low. The initial proposal would have measured the reservoirs on January 1, but farm advocacy groups have managed to move that deadline to March 1.
While the proposal gives rice farmers in southern Texas two extra months to hope for rain, many are worried about the future. Without irrigation from the Colorado River, many rice farms, and other farms in the region, risk bankruptcy. Damage done to the agricultural sector will likely reverberate across Texas, risking job loss and high unemployment.
Since last October Texas has seen the driest year in its history since the 1890s. All that many Lone Star State farmers can do is hope for rain in the next few months.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer