Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 52 of 61
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ways improved, highways protected, other natural resources saved, and
the industrial world of Texas revolutionized. We have lost all our wisdom
if we do not at once take steps to put a stop to this state-wide,
economic waste of our State's greatest asset.
TEXAS FORTUNATELY SITUATED AS TO HER RIVERS AND WATERSHEDS.
Texas is favorably situated for the controlling of its streams and the
impounding of its waters for the reason that all our rivers and watersheds
except the Rio Grande River and Red River, are entirely, for legislative
purposes, within the borders of the State. The Colorado, for
illustration, has its source in Texas and crosses the State 740 miles,
emptying into the Matagorda Bay. The Brazos, rising in the Staked
Plains, pours its flood waters through a channel more than a thousand
miles in length into the Gulf of Mexico. The same, as to being within
our borders, can be said of the Trinity, the Pecos, the Guadalupe, the
San Saba, the Sabine, the Concho, the Llano, the Leon, the Neches,
Devil's River, and other streams of smaller size. These streams drain
the watersheds of Texas should be considered and conserved as great
natural resources. The Colorado and its tributaries drain a basin
larger in territory than the combined area of New York, Vermont, and
Virginia. All these streams and watersheds being within the borders
of our State, we can legislate and control them as we see fit.
THE RIO GRANDE.
The Rio Grande, having its source in another State and forming the
boundary line between two Republics, presents both an interstate and
an international question. This, however, should not deter Texas
from solving the water problem of the Rio Grande. For irrigation
purposes, this is one of the most important streams in the world. It
is fed by the melting snows of Colorado and enriches every foot of
land it touches. The day is coming within the lives of those now
living when on the banks of the Rio Grande on Texas soil, there will
be developed the most productive agricultural and horticultural spot
between the two great oceans.
THE VALUE OF OUR WATER.
The water that falls within the borders of Texas is as valuable as
the lands of Texas. Then why permit it to run in waste to the Gulf?
Not only do we lose the value of the water but in wasting it we permit
it to destroy our land. Its conservation for domestic purposes,
for irrigation, for electrical power, for manufacturing uses, constitutes
the biggest single task now committed to our hands. I am for
the State controlling, conserving and commercializing the waters of
The conquest and control of our waterways is now the most comprehensive,
constructive, commercial problem before the people of Texas.
The beneficial results flowing from the subduing of our streams are immeasurable.
Every river in Texas from its source to its mouth should
be changed from one of destruction to one of service.
Here’s what’s next.
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Neff, Pat M. Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation, book, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5835/m1/52/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .