The record setting drought and continuing water crisis will be high on the agenda when the State Legislature convenes in 2013.

Last year, the drought cost the state more than $5 billion dollars, and there’s little hope that the coming year will be much better. Lake levels remain well below normal. There’s concern the aquifers can’t keep up with a constantly growing population. A state Supreme Court ruling has turned groundwater rights laws on their heads. Already, we have seen water shortages in Central Texas communities, and rice farmers downstream have been cut off for the first time ever.

So how dire is the situation? What are the options? Should lawmakers be doing more? What can you do to help?

We’ll spend a full hour Thursday, exploring those questions. Our guests include Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson. We’ll also hear from water and drought experts; including Ken Kramer from the Lone Star Sierra Club and conservationist Andy Sansom.

We also want to make sure we’re asking all the questions you want answered. That’s why we’re opening up the phone and Facebook lines. Starting at 6:45, you can call in to talk to our panel of experts, and they’ll answer your questions live. Just dial (512) 531-8898. If you can’t call in, feel free to post your question on our Facebook page, or leave a comment right here on the blog.