FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/19/2013
REPRESENTATIVE ERIC JOHNSON JOINT-AUTHORS LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS STATE'S WATER NEEDS
AUSTIN, TX – State Representative Eric Johnson (Dallas), Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, has joint-authored legislation to help ensure that Texas will meet its future water needs.
House Bill 4 would create a new dedicated revolving fund, the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT), for use in financing water projects in the State Water Plan. The legislation would also lay the groundwork for that fund's management and operation.
"The Speaker of the House has indicated that water is his top priority this session, and I am honored that he chose me to serve as Vice Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee at this critical time," said Representative Johnson. "I am the only member of the committee from the Metroplex, so I feel responsible for making sure our region's water future is secure."
Johnson cited a broad coalition of support for the legislation, which is designed to work in coordination with House Bill 11. That bill would make a one-time allocation of $2 billion from the state's Economic Stabilization Fund in order to capitalize the SWIFT fund.
In addition to traditional water supply projects, the bills would set aside at least 20 percent of the new revolving fund for conservation and reuse efforts. The bills would also allow funds to be used across the various water-financing programs offered by the Water Development Board to ensure that as the state's water demands and plans change, the funding support can adapt.
Representative Johnson is also committed to easing the regulatory burden on interbasin transfers by reducing the time and cost associated with voluntary transfers of surface water.
"As the State Water Plan calls for, the Legislature should eliminate unreasonable restrictions on the voluntary transfer of surface water from one basin to another," Representative Johnson said.
Eric Johnson represents District 100, which includes parts of Dallas and Mesquite, in the Texas House of Representatives.
Contact: Richard Griffin