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Texans might assume that regional water districts are busy producing raw water and protecting residents from preventable flooding. But the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) will spend over 70% of their general fund revenue elsewhere; on “economic development.”

At a TRWD tax increase hearing this week, the public was shown two charts, one of which detailed how over $50 million will be spent in 2015 on the controversial Trinity River Vision Project (TRV) and away from core services.

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Those core, water-related responsibilities for residents will only receive $20 million, or less than 30% of general funds.

As a result, cities that buy water from the TRWD are drastically raising prices for consumers. But the expenditure charts clearly show that if 70% of general funds were not going to the TRV slush fund, the TRWD would have substantially more funds to help finance new pipeline projects and lower costs.

Officials claim that the TRV is not a boondoggle that diverts resources away from water production and flood mitigation. But if that were true, then why did launching the $1 billion project in 2005 require Rep. Charlie Geren to push new legislation that expanded the district’s legal authority over and above what it already had?

Additionally, the TRV will require the controversial use of eminent domain to confiscate the property of landowners and businesses standing in the way of re-development.

Unfortunately, economic development has often become analogous to “wasting taxpayer money on everything other than what taxpayers expect”, with the TRV as a prime example.

Many residents in North Texas are unaware that the district even exists, let alone what it actually does… and that’s exactly what politicians are relying upon.

So far, it’s been a costly oversight.

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