City, County Officials Discuss Water Issues with Texas Senator

By: Matt Howerton Email
By: Matt Howerton Email

BELTON (August 19, 2013) -- An estimated two dozen city and county officials from Bell, Hamilton, Coryell, and Lampasas County gathered in Belton this afternoon to discuss water conservancy issues with state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay.

Sen. Fraser helped draft House Bill 4, a measure signed by Gov. Rick Perry in May that would move two billion dollars from the state’s Rainy Day fund into a separate fund available for loans to communities for water infrastructure construction and improvements if approved by voters on November 5th.

According to Fraser, 66% of Texas is currently in “severe” drought conditions. Last week, 200,000 acres of fresh water alone evaporated in Texas according to state data.

Average lake levels in Central Texas dropped from 85% percent full in 2012 to 69% full now in 2013.

"Texas is the fastest growing state in the nation; the bad news is we have little inflow into our lakes and a lot of thirsty people wanting a drink of water," Sen. Fraser said.

"We’re drawing down our resources faster than we have in history."

Ten percent of House Bill 4’s borrowed funds would have to be spent in rural Texas areas. Twenty percent of those funds would exclusively be used for conservation or reuse projects, the bill’s language says.

Fraser explained to several city and county officials Monday afternoon that Texas is in its 4th year of a possible 10 year drought, and water conservancy measures need to be taken before it is too late.

If passed by voters in November, House Bill 4 could greatly help cities like Killeen that are working to finalize steps to begin reusing water from their waste water treatment plant.

"More and more cities are doing it, NASA has done it for years, and it's a good conversation measure,” Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin said.

House Bill 4’s November 5th vote is considered a Constitutional Amendment Election.

Fraser says those types of elections normally receive low voter turnout.

He strongly urged officials at the end of the meeting to highly publicize the vote come November.

"This probably could be the most important vote anyone makes in their lifetime," Fraser said.

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