Irrigated Agriculture Speaks Up on Water Issues in Austin

Texas irrigation districts, groundwater conservation districts, and ag commodity groups met in Austin Feb. 25, 2013, to highlight the need to invest in ag water efficiency and conservation measures both on-farm and in-district.

While regional differences and water sources present unique problems in different parts of the state, irrigated agriculture throughoutTexas is suffering the effects of continued drought and lack of financial support necessary to invest in improvements.

Participants in the Forum all agree on one thing: new mechanisms for financing water infrastructure currently being discussed by the Texas Legislature should account for the high-volume/low-cost water savings that can be realized through proven agricultural conservation tools and technologies.

Comm. Staples with Forum sponsors
Applauding their efforts were Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Representative Eddie Lucio III.
Rep. Lucio interviewed by StateImpact Texas



Status and Trends in Irrigated Agriculture, Dr. Kevin Wagner, Texas Water Resources Institute

Ag Water in the 2012 State Water Plan, Carolyn Brittin, Texas Water Development Board


Texas Project for Ag Water Efficiency, Tom McLemore, Harlingen Irrigation District:

Texas Alliance for Water Conservation, Dr. Chuck West, Texas Tech University

200-12 Project, Steve Walthour, North Plains Groundwater Conservation District

Forum Agenda Features Comm. Staples & Rep. Lucio

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples will deliver the 2013 Texas Ag Water Forum keynote presentation on "Ag Water & Texas Food Security."

Rep. Eddie Lucio III will provide a "Legislative Perspective on Irrigated Agriculture in Texas."

The Forum will present facts about and issues affecting Texas ag water supplies and use.

"Setting the Stage: Texas Ag Water Facts" features presentations by:
    Carolyn Brittin, Executive Deputy Administrator, Water Resources Planning and Information, Texas Water Development Board, on "Ag Water in the 2012 Texas State Water Plan"; and
    Kevin Wagner, PhD, Associate Director, Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources, on "Status and Trends of Irrigated Agriculture in Texas." 

Proving the Science: Ag Water Demonstration Projects in Texas includes presentations on the Texas Project for Ag Water EfficiencyTexas Alliance for Water Conservation; and the 200-12 Project (200 bushels of corn on 12 inches of irrigation water/acre).

Panel discussions will focus on: 
    Crops & Water: The Perspective from the Farm (moderated by Ross Ramsey, Texas Tribune);
    Economics of Investing in Ag Water Efficiency & Conservation: Who & How? (moderated by Kate Galbraith, Texas Tribune) and
    Challenges in Meeting Regional Conservation Goals: Report from the Front Lines (moderated by Terrence Henry, KUT/Impact Texas);

A major goal of the Forum is to create an ongoing dialogue on the many issues facing irrigated agriculture and develop next steps for defining strategic solutions.

All Eyes are on Agriculture

The researchers, statisticians, planners, and demographers have seen the future, and it doesn’t look pretty for Texas agriculture. The availability of water for agriculture in Texas will diminish as the demands for municipal and industrial uses take an upward trajectory.

Our population is expected to double over the next 50 years and the need for food and fiber will not go away. Agriculture in Texas was and will continue to be a foundation of our state’s economy.

So how can Texas help its farmers do more with less in the face of uncertain water supplies? 

This tough question is the focus of the 2013 Texas Ag Water Forum.

Mark your calendar for Monday, February 25, 2013.