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Texas Lawmakers Ironing Out Water Fund Plan

Updated: Monday, June 2 2014, 06:32 PM CDT

$2 billion, that's how much voters approved to help quench Texas' thirst through Proposition 6.

It created two new funds that are designed to make the financing of water projects more affordable and to provide consistent, ongoing state financial assistance for water supplies

On Monday lawmakers got an update on the progress.

"It's all steps, and in the water world they're slow steps," said State Representative Allan Ritter. "The whole goal is to help all the local entities get over that hump in order to do these water developments."

After countless meetings the chairman of the Texas Water Development board says they are in the last stages of finalizing the rules on how to best disperse the funds.

Once the rules are posted, there will be time for the public to weigh in.

He also mentioned just how much money each year they think the agency will be able to disperse.

"We believe that we would be able to accept around $800 million worth of applications every year for the first 10 years," said Texas Water Development Board Chairman Carlos Rubinstein. "That is phenomenal to have that capacity."

According to the Water Development Board, the funds will be used to provide low-cost financing for projects in the state water plan -- a plan created by local and regional entities, with the assistance of the state, to meet future water demands. Projects in the state water plan will be eligible for support from the SWIFT and SWIRFT.  These water projects range from conservation and reuse, to desalting groundwater and seawater, to building new pipelines and developing reservoirs and well fields, and include many other kinds of projects as well.

"About a third of our needs can be met by conservation, but it is also the least costly because its water we already have," said Rubinstein.

Rubinstein says they are hoping to be able to start dispersing funds sometime in 2015.

By Adam Racusin

Texas Lawmakers Ironing Out Water Fund Plan

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