Four Price - Texas State Representative, Republican, District 87 | Texas Water Day & House Bill 4

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Texas Water Day & House Bill 4

On the heels of the House’s successful passage of House Bill 4, today is Texas Water Day at the Capitol. What a great time to address an issue of such importance – water conservation and infrastructure.

Water remains a significant policy matter for the 83rd legislative session. Texas’ water demand is roughly 18 million acre-feet per year, and growing. Ongoing drought conditions have highlighted the need for our attention to this resource. From conservation initiatives, drought management, water reuse, desalination plants, and other proposed water projects, Texas is at a critical period where we must analyze all options and make decisions on how to best prepare our state for both existing and future water needs.

As our population grows, our economy will grow too, and we must have a focused water strategy in place to sustain the needs of our state. In the Panhandle, for example, the strength of our agriculture industry is deeply dependent on water. Additionally, without comprehensive strategies to conserve water and invest in new infrastructure projects, the water crisis in the Panhandle and across our state will continue, and we will see greater and more severe issues, including economic loss.

This session, lawmakers are considering significant plans to improve the state’s position in terms of water supplies. The House of Representatives this week voted on House Bill 4, which I joint authored, to bring a smart financing strategy to the table to promote investments in conservation and infrastructure projects. House Bill 4, by House Natural Resources Chairman Allan Ritter, accomplishes several major items, including:

1. Defining conservation and reuse projects as a priority.

2. Creating the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT), an infrastructure bank to finance water projects in the State Water Plan.

3. Directing the Texas Water Development Board to prioritize proposed water projects and develop a plan for assessing the financing for such projects.

4. Creating an advisory committee to oversee the implementation of SWIFT.

I am glad to have had the opportunity to work on this important legislation because it is a matter that is critical to our state’s future. I’ll continue to keep you updated on this measure and related policy issues.