Texas Lawmakers Take $2 Billion Step Toward Sustainable Water Supplies
by: Laurie Johnson, May 28, 2013 10:05:00 am
HB4 creates a $2 billion fund for water supply projects, pending voter approval this November.
Gov. Rick Perry says the legislation will lower the cost of issuing bonds and provide the seed money to launch up to $30 billion worth of water projects over the next 50 years.
"We're securing the future of our great state by making sure that Texas has the water it needs for decades to come."
Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signed House Bill 4 today.
Water-related issues were a hallmark of this legislative session as Texas faces ongoing drought conditions and a growing population. About half of the state's population gets its drinking water from lakes and rivers.
Texas Speaker of the House Joe Strauss represents San Antonio, where water supply and conservation are significant concerns. Strauss says the legislature made this bill a top priority.
"Because we have all seen the devastating effects that severe drought can have on our farms, on our communities and really on our entire economy. In addition, we know that a reliable supply of water will help us remain the leading state in the nation for job creation."
Voters will decide whether to authorize the state to take $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to launch the water fund.
HB4 also restructures the Texas Water Development Board, putting three full-time commissioners in charge of the agency that provides loans and grants for water projects.