Council members talk about water

04/03/2014 6:01 PM

04/03/2014 6:02 PM

Fort Worth’s (and the state’s) future, our economic viability, quality of life and mere survival all depend on having an adequate supply of clean water and an effective, efficient infrastructure delivery system.

The worst recorded year of drought in Texas history was 2011, and that condition is expected to continue possibly for 15 years. The people of our great state recognized the importance of water by passing Proposition 6 in November.

Our citizens get it, our Legislature gets it, our Texas Water Development Board gets it, the Tarrant Regional Water District gets it and the Fort Worth City Council gets it: Water is a crucial public resource.

As president of the Texas Municipal League, I have resolved that public infrastructure including water and transportation are the critical priorities for Texas.

On April 1, the Fort Worth City Council was asked to consider a staff-proposed ordinance and revised water conservation plan. In asking for a one-week delay, I addressed the concern that our aging city infrastructure was losing more than 11 percent of our water through broken pipes and leakage and that more than 23 percent was lost through “non-reimbursed uses.”

I also said I wanted a commitment that the city would abide by the restrictions and conservation provisions and would work to speedily repair infrastructure leaks. I asked that city staff quickly evaluate an alternative conservation plan proposed by a citizen.

Next Tuesday, the council will vote on a Water Conservation Plan to be submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality by May 1. I intend to vote to approve a commonsense water conservation plan.

— Councilman Jungus Jordan, Fort Worth

Thursday’s editorial was simplistic and intentionally mean-spirited.

The number of Star-Telegram readers unaware of the current drought surely could be measured in dozens. No City Council member denied the need for a water conservation plan.

The city remains in Drought Stage 1 and will for the imaginable future. So, to trumpet the recent lack of rain as a call to action is a bit obvious.

Yes, Wichita Falls is facing water challenges, but that’s not relevant to this vote. Permanent watering restrictions will have no impact until we emerge from Drought Stage 1.

The editorial employed some form of the word weak four times. Dr. VanHammersfeld would have spilled red ink for that and then dropped the giant, red thesaurus on my desk had I used the same descriptor repeatedly in a short essay. Then she would have chastised me for such a clumsy literary technique.

Rather than simply and directly making the point that you believe the city needs permanent water restrictions, you instead chose to demean five council members as “weak.” I don’t suppose you would consider it “weak” if, in the face of great pressure, we voted in favor of an issue you supported.

You cite Blake Woodard as the lone crier in opposition without benefit of knowledge of the many citizens who have raised objections to me. A short continuance that recognizes the legitimate concerns of taxpayers will not jeopardize the future of young Cowtowners.

It does pay homage to the value this council places on those engaged in the business of the city. I, like my colleagues, recognize the need for conservation and surely intend for permanent changes to be made to the city’s plan. We also want to get it right.

— Councilman Danny Scarth, Fort Worth

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