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 Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and a related fund. Both funds are to assist in financing water management strategies recommended in the state and regional water plans. HB 4 governs how those funds will be used.
But state legislation like HB 4 is not carried out automatically. The agency responsible for administering new state laws – in this case the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) – has to adopt rules to specify how HB 4 is going to work in practice.
TWDB – after much early stakeholder input – proposed those HB 4 rules in early July in the Texas Register and established roughly a 60-day comment period on the proposal, ending September 1. The agency has made it extremely easy to submit comments electronically. Comments may be emailed directly to email@example.com or may be submitted through an online comment form.
The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, a partner in the Texas Living Waters Project, has produced a brief background piece on the rules that includes some suggestions for comments on the TWDB proposal. Sierra Club believes that the basic framework of the proposed rules is sound and that they reflect what the Legislature intended, and the Club also commends the commitment that the leadership at TWDB has shown to conservation as an important means of meeting the state’s water needs. The Club does recommend some changes and additions to the rules to help assure that state financial assistance through HB 4 is used effectively in supporting responsible water management strategies to meet the needs of both people and the environment.
So as you make plans for your Labor Day holiday weekend, make sure you’re going to have some water on hand to quench your thirst while enjoying your outdoor activities in the Texas heat. And, while you’re at it, take a few minutes to make sure that future generations in Texas have some water on hand to quench their thirst. Submit your comments on the proposed water funding rules to TWDB by September 1!