Texas lawmakers thirsty for water funding in 83rd Legislature

Water remains a high priority for the members of the Texas 83rd Legislature session. According to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), an alarming 96% of Texas is currently experiencing drought conditions, with the statewide water reservoir only 67% full – about 13% short of where it should be this time of year.

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Among the various proposals in the 83rd Legislature is H.B. 11, which aims to appropriate $2 billion for water-related projects. According to an article in the Texas Tribune, “Lawmakers will consider proposals to draw $1 billion or more from the Rainy Day Fund to help finance water projects.” The article also predicts that “High water rates charged by private companies in rural Texas are likely to receive scrutiny, especially as lawmakers assess whether to move water rate oversight to the Public Utility Commission from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.”

Section (a) of proposed H.B. 11 states, “If the state water implementation fund for Texas is created by legislation enacted by the 83rd Legislature Regular Session, 2013, the amount of $2 billion is appropriated from the economic stabilization fund to the comptroller for the purpose of depositing that amount to the credit of the state water implementation fund for Texas as money available for use by the Texas Water Development Board for the purposes of the state water implementation fund for Texas.”

At a time when demand for water is greater than ever in Texas, actions must be taken to ensure state agencies have sufficient resources to continue monitoring and responding to changing water supplies and conditions. This allocation of funds to establish both short and long-term water projects benefits virtually all Texans. Whether you are a resident of a growing metropolitan area, a driller who requires water to tap into energy reserves, or a farmer trying to irrigate crops, water is a vital resource that is essential for life, prosperity, and economic growth across the Lone Star State.

I will be monitoring the results of the Texas 83rd Legislature and look forward to keeping you updated on the latest developments.

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