As the temperature rises and the soil gets drier, water conservation is front and center. In fact, the Texas House approved a plan would offer land owners across the state property tax reductions for habitat management related to water conservation. The plan offers property tax reductions for landowners who set aside open-space habitat for water conversation. And the plan is quite progressive with more-productive conservation efforts receiving greater tax breaks.
Supporters of the water management initiative said the tax reductions would encourage groundwater conservation without forcing Texas government to hand out even more money. It is estimated that 90 percent of Texas water flows either through or under privately owned land, so it will take private landowners to get the job done. One of the best ways to get people involved is conservation initiatives is to make if monetarily worth their while.
Texas land owners already enjoy several tax breaks, and some of the bill’s language overlaps with existing tax incentives, the wildlife tax valuation (exemption), for protecting the Texas’ wildlife. However, the purpose of the new program is more specific and targets water preservation that specifically benefits aquatic ecosystems and species. The wildlife exemption is focused on terrestrial habitat and wildlife, but many management practices are similar between the two.
The specifics of the water conservation effort and the management practices land owners must implement are still unknown, but I suspect brush control and the establishment and maintenance of native grasses would rank high on the list for terrestrial habitats. Riparian and wetland management and enhancement would rank very high for aquatic environments. If this plan makes it through then Texas’ wildlife, habitat and water will be in much better place.