Kirk Winemiller, an ecologist in the Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Department at Texas A&M University, argues in an opinion piece in the Austin American-Statesman that while the 2011 drought was not as dramatic in its effects as the “drought of record” during the 1950s, the path to recovery is different now. Water allocation, he says, is a zero-sum game, and what is getting lost in the debate over funding the state water plan is its costs, as opposed to the benefits. When more water is diverted for human use, he says, less water flows in rivers and into bays, thus affecting fish and wildlife. As the Legislature considers investing billions from the Rainy Day Fund for new water infrastructure, Winemiller argues that the most effective and cheapest ways to secure water during drought are better reuse technologies, efficiencies and conservation.
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