AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry Tuesday ceremonially signed House Bill 4, which lays the foundation for meeting Texas' future water needs. HB 4 provides for active, full-time governance at the Texas Water Development Board; creates a new funding mechanism to support water-supply project implementation over the next 50 years; and directs local, regional and state officials to prioritize projects to ensure efficient use of available resources. The governor was joined by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus, as well as bill authors Reps. Allan Ritter, Four Price, Eric Johnson, Doug Miller and Eddie Lucio III, and sponsor Sen. Troy Fraser at the signing ceremony.
"Water is an essential part of everyone's life, and ensuring adequate supplies means continued job creation, stronger communities and healthier families for decades to come," Gov. Perry said. "HB 4 will help secure our water supplies for generations, even through rapid population and economic growth, by creating new funds that will support local and regional projects and lower the cost of issuing bonds for much-needed water projects."
HB 4 will ensure Texas has a reliable water supply for the next 50 years by promoting conservation and innovative reuse. With voter approval of SJR 1 this fall, this $2 billion investment will fund up to $30 billion in projects over the next 50 years. These measures will help address the increased demand population growth will have on our water needs now and into the future.
"Our state's economic engine continues to outpace the rest of the nation, so we're taking aggressive steps to ensure our infrastructure can support the accompanying growth," Lt. Gov. Dewhurst said. "This bill is part of an overall solution that combines great fiscal stewardship with citizen involvement and sound strategic planning to meet our state's water needs for the next fifty years."
"The Texas House made HB 4 a top priority because we have all seen the devastating effects that severe drought can have on our farms, our communities and our entire economy," Speaker Straus said. "In addition, we know that a reliable supply of water will help us remain the leading state in the country for job creation."
"It has been an honor to work with leadership on securing our future water supply," Rep. Ritter said. "The Governor and the Legislature worked together to help ensure that we will have our most essential element to public health and economic growth for decades to come."
"The drought not only has an impact on the health and safety of our communities but it also affects our State's economy and the ability to attract new businesses," Sen. Fraser said. "I am glad that we finally passed HB 4 to implement the State Water Plan, so we can ensure Texas will have sufficient water supplies during times of drought."
House Bill 4 becomes law on Sept. 1, 2013.