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First Prayers, Now a Pilgrimage For Drought Relief

Updated: Tuesday, October 22 2013, 11:18 AM CDT

Two years after famously calling for Texans to pray for drought relief, Gov. Rick Perry is hoping a pilgrimage to the Holy Land will have more practical results.

The erstwhile Republican candidate for governor spoke today before the Water Technology and Environmental Control Exhibition and Conference Israel 2013 in Tel Aviv today.

Known as WATEC, the confab is billed as a premier meeting of international business and government leaders to discuss water issues and solutions around the globe.

Roughly parallel to each other on the globe – slide the Jewish homeland due West several thousand miles and its borders would overlap an area stretching from San Antonio up to Denton – Israel and Texas have similar climates. And with smaller borders constricted it to a sliver of semi-arid hills and plains, Israel is no stranger to the dearth of water Texans have come to know during the ongoing drought which ranks second-worst in the state's history.

"Israel and Texas face many of the same challenges," Gov. Perry told the conference. "We must strive to utilize new technologies and new strategies to conserve and expand our supplies of fresh water."

He went on to tout the state's low taxes and limited regulations as stimulants for the technological research and innovation that he claims will secure future water needs.

"We keep our regulations smart, predictable and effective, so work can start on a new project, for example, in weeks, rather than months it might take in some other states," he said. "That doesn't mean we don't take care of our own; our system of common sense regulations works."

Gov. Perry even acknowledged a role for public money fueling the private sector by hailing Proposition 6, the proposed state constitutional amendment that would carve out $2 billion from the so-called Rainy Day Fund for use as financing for private water projects for the next 50 years.

Voters will have a say on that measure on Nov. 5.

Gov. Perry's international trip began with a stop in London on Friday where, alongside top U.K. officials, he dedicated a plaque commemorating the site of the Texas Legation dating back to the days of the Lone Star Republic.

Tomorrow he's expected to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp to reveal plans for a Texas A&M campus in Nazareth, according to the Texas Tribune.

First Prayers, Now a Pilgrimage For Drought Relief

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