Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs says innovation, like the fracking innovation which unlocked gushers of oil and gas in Texas, should be brought to the search for new water resources in Texas as well, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"Look what's happened in energy driven by innovation and competition," Combs told 1200 WOAI news. "We have not applied that to water."
In a report entitled 'Texas Water, Going Deeper for a Solution," Combs, who has announced she is not running for re-election, calls for the creation of monetary incentives, like the Nobel Prize, which rewards 'cutting edge research,' to spur creativity and advancements in water solutions.
"There is $518 million in change in non health related research and development by all these Texas universities," Combs said. "Only $28.7 million of that went to water-related."
She says the recommendations encourage innovation in increasing water efficiency and conservation, including innovations in finding new sources of water.
Among her ideas, a grant program that would award water authorities and other major water users to employ conservation efforts that result in demonstrably lower water usage levels.
She says the awards would insure that only proven success moves forward to the stage where it is rewarded with taxpayer money.
Combs, who is a former State Agriculture Commissioner, says her concern is that while most people who live on farms and ranches are well aware of the state's razor-thin water margins, most people who live in urban areas have no clue how important finding new water resources and encouraging innovation in conservation is to Texas' economic future.
She says if you want to destroy the Texas jobs creation machine which is currently the envy of the nation, just have a large employer, like Dell Computer, turn on the faucet just once and have no water come out.
"If you turn on your facet and no water comes out, that would be a shocking wake up call," she said. "Currently, that does not happen to anybody in the state of Texas."