AUSTIN (AP) –  The Texas House has sent to the governor legislation that would offer land owners tax breaks for water conservation. It’s an incentive plan little-seen nationwide that comes as many parts of the state are struggling through a punishing drought.

The bipartisan measure offers property tax incentives for those who set aside open-space land for water conversation. The more-productive those conservation efforts are, the greater the tax breaks.

The House passed the measure unanimously Saturday, after the Senate did the same last month.

According to a legislative analysis of the measure, 90 percent of Texas water flows through or under private land.

The most-recent U.S. Drought Monitor map shows nearly half of Texas in exceptional drought — and the state just finished its driest seven-month period on record.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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