AUSTIN (AP) – A plan to offer property owners tax breaks for water conservation is making its way through the Legislature as most of Texas struggles with drought.

A final vote was expected Monday in the Texas House.

The measure, which secured initial approval Saturday, offers property tax reductions for those who set aside open-space land for water conversation.

Backers say the tax breaks would encourage water conservation without forcing state government to pay. Critics say some of the bill’s language overlaps with existing tax incentives for protecting wildlife.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday showed more than 97 percent of Texas is in at least moderate drought. More than 47 percent of the state has the most severe designation, known as exceptional drought.

The regular legislative session ends May 30.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)