“If you tell people that we may build it, it’s kind of like a dark cloud just hanging over those landowners. I mean they don’t know what they can and can’t do with their property. I mean, either do it or don’t.”
State senator Glenn Hegar says building a reservoir impacts more land that just the area that holds the water.
“There’s wetlands, timberland especially, river bottom timber. You have to mitigate other acres, and that means more land you gotta take. The last thing we need to do is have the state owning all that property.”
“Why can’t you continue to have your property and do what you do and either have a conservation easement, a land trust, or purchased land development rights agreement.”
Hegar believes water is the most important issue of the day.
"That’s the biggest thing for my district in my opinion today and in the next 50 years.”
State representative Robbie Cook says current policy is skewed in favor of the public entity needing land, and he’s introduced a bill that he hopes will even the playing field.
“It says if you’re going to come in and designate reservoirs, either through the state water plan or the Water Development Board’s going to designate reservoirs, you also have to address the impact you have to mitigate the tax loss for counties, hospital districts, school districts, what ever entity’s replaced, and you have to address the impact you have on that landowner.”
The bill also includes royalties to landowners not unlike those in the oil industry.
“You have an upfront payment, an encumbrance fee, and we have a landowner. If I had 50 acres, or if I had 500 acres, I get a percentage per acre basis, per acre foot of water sold to that community.”
The current legislative session ends may 28th. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.