PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

January 10, 2013

State Rep. Ritter files two water bills

Josh Brown
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — State Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland, filed two bills on Thursday that will help Texas secure its water needs for the next 50 years.

House bills 4 and 11 call for a one-time allocation of $2 billion from the state’s rainy day fund to create a new, revolving account that would finance water projects in the State Water Plan.

"Our projections show that $2 billion would fully implement the State Water Plan as it exists today,” Ritter said in a news release. "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."

The State Water Plan is comprised of recommendations from 16 regional groups that each develop a strategy for water usage in their area. The plans are combined every five years for an overall state policy.

The bills would set aside 20 percent of the revolving account for conservation and reuse efforts, and would allow funds to be used across the state’s various water-financing programs.

"It is vital for the future of Texas that a dedicated source of revenue be established for funding the State Water Plan," Ritter said in the release. "Our economy depends on it, our communities depend on it, and ultimately, our daily lives depend on it."

Water conservation and usage is a key issue in the state legislature this year, and, according to the release, House Speaker Joe Straus commended Ritter for raising awareness.

"Members of the Texas House understand the importance of water to business, agriculture and all Texans," Straus said in the release. "I am confident that the House will take bold, substantial action to address our water needs this session, and the filing of these bills formally begins that process."

Email: jbrown@panews.com

Twitter: @joshnathanbrown