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Author: Ken Kramer

Your guide to the 85th Texas Legislature’s water bills

Did you miss what happened with water conservation this legislative session? We’ve got you covered. In the recently concluded regular session marked by heated debates over bathroom rights and sanctuary cities, water was not a priority issue for the Texas Legislature. Still, numerous bills related to water management were introduced and considered. Among those were bills to advance water conservation. Although not all were able to make it through the legislative gauntlet, some did. The bills that passed are seen by conservation advocates as positive, if modest, steps forward. Key to the legislative guide. Water Conservation Advisory Council recommendations An important impetus to several of these bills was the December 2016 report to the...

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Motivated by Deadlines? Here’s One for You: Sept. 1

In today’s fast-paced society, it’s hard to keep up with all the important things we would like to do – like, for example, create a sustainable water future for Texas! Deadlines often help to spur us to take action. Well, here’s a deadline for you: September 1, 2014. Yes, that’s Labor Day 2014. But it’s also the deadline for public comments on the proposed rules to implement House Bill 4. HB 4 is the water funding legislation passed by the Texas Legislature in 2013. It took effect with voter passage of Prop 6 on last November’s state constitutional amendment ballot. By approving Prop 6 Texas voters authorized the creation of the State Water Implementation...

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Heading to a Conclusion? Or Heading Back to Court?

The Executive Administrator of the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has made a final recommendation regarding the long-boiling dispute between two Texas regional water planning groups over the proposed Marvin Nichols reservoir in Northeast Texas. TWDB’s three-member governing Board (also known at the Texas Water Development Board since we Texans like to keep people confused) will probably take action on the Executive Administrator’s recommendation at its August 7 meeting in Austin. But does that mean the controversy will be “resolved?”  More likely it means that the dispute will be headed back to the state courts. The Region C Water Planning Group, one of 16 such planning groups in the state, is responsible for developing...

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You Can’t Say They Don’t Care What You Think – Public Input on HB 4

Last November Texas voters overwhelming approved Proposition 6 – a proposed state constitutional amendment that created a new state water fund for water projects in the state water plan. Approval of “Prop 6” indirectly transferred $2 billion from the state’s “rainy day” fund into this new State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) to provide water for “non-rainy” days. But just moving money around doesn’t create water. That’s why what’s happening now at the state’s Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is so important. When Texas legislators proposed Prop 6 to the voters in 2013 they also passed House Bill 4 (HB 4). HB 4 tasks TWDB with administering the SWIFT and sets out some...

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Using Our “Good Cents” to Reduce Water Loss

What if someone came to you and said that they would like you to loan them $100, but you knew that person usually lost or wasted at least $15 to $20 or more of each $100 they had? You probably would be reluctant to give them a loan without a commitment that they would stop wasting so much money and without a plan to follow through on that commitment, right? That’s the approach the Texas Legislature took last year when legislators overwhelmingly passed HB 3605 – a bipartisan bill by Democratic State Rep. Lon Burnam (and others) and Republican State Senator Glen Hegar. Among its provisions, HB 3605 requires a retail public water utility...

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