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June 15, 1998     (512) 463-0300

LEGISLATORS MEET IN DALLAS; DISCUSS STATEWIDE WATER PLAN

DALLAS - The Interim Committee on Water Resources Development and Management met in Dallas on Monday, June 15, to take public testimony on the implementation of Senate Bill 1. The bill, passed during the 75th Legislative Session, outlines a comprehensive plan for water conservation, drought management, and protection. The committee has been conducting public hearings around the state throughout the past year to hear from local communities as to their current and projected water and infrastructure resources and needs. The committee membership includes Co-Chairs Senator Buster Brown of Lake Jackson and Representative Ron Lewis of Orange, Senator Carlos F. Truan of Corpus Christi, Senator Eddie Lucio of Brownsville, Senator Ken Armbrister of Victoria, Senator Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio, Representative David Counts of Knox City, Representative Gary Walker of Plains, Representative Robert Puente of San Antonio, and Representative Robby Cook of Eagle Lake.

Invited testimony began with Charlotte Mays, Dallas City Council member, who welcomed the committee to Dallas. Mr. Bill Madden, Chair of the Texas Water Development Board, testified and asked the committee to support the board's request for an Attorney General's opinion relating to the board-designated regional water planning groups. Terrace Stewart, Director of Water Utilities for City of Dallas, provided a brief overview of the history of surface water development in the Dallas area, most of which was prompted by times of drought; and suggested several recommendations for legislative changes to Senate Bill 1. Lee Bradley, Water Director for City of Fort Worth, outlined some of the challenges Fort Worth faces relating to both the quantity and quality of the area's drinking water.

Resource witnesses included James Kowis, for the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) and Tommy Knowles with the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). Mr. Kowis updated the committee on the TNRCC's extensive rulemaking packages and water availability modeling projects underway to implement Senate Bill 1. Dr. Knowles provided the committee with a written and verbal overview of the TWDB's schedule of implementation activities and a summary of the North Texas region's surface and groundwater supplies, the regional water planning group's status, and the region's current and projected water-related financial assistance. Wade Stansell, with Texas Utilities, explained the critical role of water for power generation.

The committee's next hearing will be held in Tyler on July 8.

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