News Release from the office of State Senator Judith Zaffirini

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 30, 2008
Contact: Celeste Villarreal
512/463-0121

Zaffirini: Despite 2008 Rains, South Texas Still Needs Permanent Water Solutions

AUSTIN – Permanent water supply solutions to drought-plagued areas of Texas, including South Texas, will require bipartisan legislative efforts when the 81st Texas Legislature convenes on Jan. 13, Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, said today (Thursday).

“While we have made tremendous gains, they are not enough,” Senator Zaffirini said. “In periods of deepening drought conditions and continued growth among South Texas communities, the future challenges will be great. We must stay proactive in our efforts to identify and fund solutions.”

Senator Zaffirini cited her support during the most recent legislative session of a state Constitutional amendment that provided for up to $250 million in bonding assistance to economically distressed areas to aid in developing water and wastewater service, including in colonias lacking such infrastructure.

She emphasized, however, that this effort is not sufficient to help Texas’ cash-strapped communities bring their water systems up to standards, and it will not be enough to keep up with future demand. The Texas Water Development Board projects that within 50 years, as many as 85 percent of Texans could be without an adequate water supply during times of drought.

“I’m proud of the investments we’ve made in water infrastructure so far, but we must find permanent funding sources to ensure we keep up with future demand,” Senator Zaffirini said.

As Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Zaffirini said she would work with colleagues including Senator Kip Averitt, R-Waco, to build on past successes by identifying permanent funding sources to build or upgrade water systems to keep up with demand. Senator Averitt chairs the Senate Natural Resources Committee and has served on the budget-writing Appropriations Conference Committee and Senate Finance Committee with her.

“We must stay ahead of these challenges," Senator Zaffirini said. "If we don’t, economic development and community growth will be affected adversely. Failure, therefore, is not an option.”

She added that South Texans are invited to share their expertise and experience in addressing this critical issue. Anyone interested in getting involved should contact her immediately. She can be reached via her Capitol office, 512/463-0121; Southern District Office, 956/722-2293; Northern District Office, 210/657-0095; or judith.zaffirini@senate.state.tx.us.

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SENATOR JUDITH ZAFFIRINI is vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee, serves on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and presides over two higher education subcommittees. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst appointed her Chair of the Senate Finance Higher Education Subcommittee and the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee.


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