83rd Legislative Session Report by Lara Keel
The following is a digest of a story originally posted at ImpactNews.com. Lara Keel and the Texas Lobby Group are posting this summary as a public service for all Texas lobbyists, state government officials and consultants, and all parties interested in the 83rd session of the Texas legislature.
Recent drought realities have brought issues of water conservation and use to the forefront of political discussions in the Lone Star state. Making sure our citizens have access to clean water is a major issue this session.
“Since 1997 with Senate Bill 1, the state of Texas started a regional approach to creating a statewide water plan, which would ensure the needs of future Texans are met. Over the past 12 years, the Legislature has tried and been unsuccessful to fund the statewide water plan. Senate Bill 4 is the groundwork for hopefully, finally, getting the state water plan funded so that we can rest easy that our children and grandchildren will have water they need, and the Texas economy can continue to thrive.”
Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, Senate Natural Resources Committee chairman.
Governor Perry, Speaker Strauss, and Lt. Governor Dewhurst have all thrown their support behind using funds from the rainy day reserves to kick-start a fund that would help local entities pay for needed water projects.
We rethink our state water plan every five years with local people involved representing agriculture, environment, industry, river authorities, water districts, and other groups. These groups try to anticipate our water needs over the next 50 years and plan accordingly. Currently there are over 500 projects in the works. Projects that benefit a variety of groups and are all seeking funding.
What is proposed is a “State Water Implementation Fund” that would help local governments pay for needed projects.
Our projections show that $2 billion would fully implement the State Water Plan as it exists today. With that one-time capital investment, we could provide adequate, meaningful funding to the plan and achieve the state’s goals of supporting local entities in the implementation of projects.”
Allan Ritter, R-Nederland, House Natural Resources Committee chairman.
The bills would also set aside 20% of the new revolving fund for conservation and reuse efforts.
Read the original story here.