It’s no secret that the water supply in Texas was a prominent issue in the most recent legislative session. With almost 200 bills filed that were related to water and its infrastructure, it can be assumed that the need for water security isn’t just regional but spans the entire state. Through its work with Houston Stronger, a coalition comprised of civic groups, business associations and active citizens from throughout the Texas Gulf Coast region, the North Houston
Association advocated for a $5 billion investment into the state’s Flood Infrastructure Fund, a fund that finances projects in the State Flood Plan. The State Flood Plan is a combined plan formed from 15 Regional Flood Planning Groups’ individual plans which were recently submitted on July 14th, 2023, and await their approval to be included in the September 1st, 2024 final State Flood Plan. Progress was made as Senate Bill 30 was filed to provide approximately $625 million in investment to the FIF, while House Bill 1 created new positions for staff and added almost $20 million more to go toward flood-related programs. Senate Bill 28 and Senate Joint Resolution 75 were filed to create 2 new funds in addition to the FIF, the Texas Water Fund and the New Water Supply for Texas Fund, also to be managed by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). Voters will see this reflected on the November ballot when they get the opportunity to approve $1 billion to go into the Texas Water Fund which will be used to pay for new water supply projects.
“Wide support for this legislation signals a strong message on the critical state of water in Texas, and the need to invest in it,” said Sarah Schlessinger, CEO of Texas Water Foundation. SB 30’s approval will trigger the funding match for two loan programs, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, allowing the use of more than $750 million of federal funds.