FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/19/2013
REPRESENTATIVE ERIC JOHNSON JOINT-AUTHORS BILL 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 the SWIFT's management and operation.
"The Speaker of the House has indicated that water is his top priority this session for a reason," said Representative Johnson. "The implementation of the State Water Plan is vital to ensure that Texans will have an ample supply of water for generations to come."
Johnson cited a broad coalition of support for the legislation, which is designed to work in coordination with House Bill 11. House Bill 11 would make a one-time allocation of $2 billion from the state's Economic Stabilization Fund in order to capitalize the SWIFT.
In addition to traditional water supply projects, the proposed legislation would set aside at least 20 percent of the SWIFT for conservation and reuse efforts. The bills would also allow funds to be used across the various water-financing programs offered by the Texas 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