Texas Votes on Water Conservation Tax Incentive

In November, Texans approved a one-of-a-kind water conservation tax incentive. The constitutional amendment—known as Prop 8—gives tax breaks to landowners who take measures to conserve water and preserve water quality. The rule gives water-conserving landowners a lower valuation on their property, similar to how an agricultural or wildlife exemption works. Prop 8 allows property owners to opt out of agricultural or wildlife conservation exemptions, which could be a less cost-effective use of land during a drought, and instead get the water conservation tax exemption. The tax breaks differ based on how much land a property-owner puts into the program. Since the calculations would be the same as under existing agricultural and wildlife conservation programs it could potentially save them hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually on their property taxes. And that is before accounting for money saved when less water is used. State government experts believe the rule could become an example for how other water-starved states could encourage property owners to conserve the increasingly scarce natural resource.