Speaker Straus Makes Water Committee Appointments
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus recently announced appointments to four water-related committees. The appointees will monitor efforts to improve the state’s water supply. They will also help the full House prepare to address water matters in the next legislative session, which begins January 2015.
Straus appointed Representatives Allan Ritter of Nederland, Drew Darby of San Angelo, and Eddie Lucio III of Brownsville to serve on the newly-created State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) Advisory Committee. Representative Ritter will serve as the advisory committee’s co-chairman. The House appointees join the Lieutenant Governor’s Senate appointees: co-chairman Troy Fraser of Marble Falls and Senators Robert Duncan of Lubbock and Kevin Eltife of Tyler.
The advisory committee will submit recommendations to the Texas Water Development Board regarding the use of $2 billion from the state’s “rainy day fund” to provide loans related to the State Water Plan. The committee’s tasks include making recommendations on how projects in the State Water Plan should be prioritized, how to meet goals for conservation and assistance for rural areas and agriculture, the management of the SWIFT, and any other related issues the committee chooses.
Straus also announced appointments to the Joint Interim Committee to Study Water Desalination. Representatives Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi (Co-Chair), Ryan Guillen of Rio Grande City, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Marisa Márquez of El Paso, Tim Kleinschmidt of Lexington, Phil King of Weatherford, and Terry Canales of Edinburg will examine the status of seawater and groundwater desalination in Texas, as well as ways that expanded use of desalinated water could help meet Texas’ needs.