FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 17, 2003
AUSTIN, TX--A bill by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. that passed during the 78th legislative session to expand water sources in the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas paved the way for a $500,000 grant by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) made today to the Brownsville Public Utility Board (PUB) for seawater desalination projects.
"I authored House Bill 1370/Senate Bill 743 to establish a comprehensive desalination study by the Texas Water Development Board to assist in the development and implementation of desalination projects," said Sen. Lucio. "This grant exemplifies our continuing efforts as a state to meet the water needs of a growing population, while staying committed to economic development and health."
As well as assisting with funding, the bill requires the TWDB, beginning December 2004, to provide formal progress reports on deslination to the Governor and the Legislature. The reports must provide an account of the progress of the project, impediments to its development and financial needs. Another requirement of the bill is that TWDB pursue federal monies to fund these projects. The Brownsville desalination project will primarily focus on Cameron County.
"This is the first step of many in developing new water sources through desalinated or 'desalted' ocean water," said Sen. Lucio. "But first and foremost, we are creating a 'drought proof' water supply for our future generations. And as our farmers have painfully discovered, we can no longer depend on Mother Nature or on Mexico fulfilling its part of the U.S.-Mexico Water Treaty of 1944 to get our needed water."