Texas passes bill to deliver water resources

Texas has referred a major bill designed to boost desalination projects in the state to the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs Committee.

The state currently has two pilot seawater desalination plant studies: one with the Brownsville Public Utility Board and the other with the Laguna Madre Water District, which serves South Padre Island and Port Isabel.

Representative Eddie Lucio’s House Bill 2031would streamline the process for requesting desalination permits and identify proper diversion and discharge zones and provide recommendations on what structures might be permitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

“With this state facing an ongoing drought and population growth, every effort must be made to secure and develop water supplies to meet demand,” said Lucio. “This bill is not intended to hinder efforts to conserve or develop other surface water supplies. It is intended to explore and expedite the development of all this state’s water resources,” he added.

Senator Juan Hinojosa has filed the Senate companion bill, Senate Bill 1738. Hinojosa and Lucio have been working together to draft the legislation.

“The long-term water needs of this state far exceed the supplies that are available from freshwater sources,” Lucio said. “It is important that we provide for the state’s current and future water needs, and this bill aims to do that.”