PRESS RELEASE FROM SEN. EDDIE LUCIO, JR.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez, Press Secretary
Phone: (512) 463-0385

TEXAS SENATE PROCLAIMS DESALINATION DAY

AUSTIN, TX -- State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. introduced Senate Resolution 413 in the Senate Chamber today designating March 7, 2007, Texas Desalination Day to encourage ongoing investment in practical applications of desalination technology in the state.

Five years ago, Gov. Rick Perry launched an initiative to turn seawater into potable water. Ten days ago, the Brownsville seawater desalination pilot was officially inaugurated, and soon the country's largest inland brackish groundwater desalination facility will begin operations in El Paso.

"As a state," said the Senator, "we need to continue supporting desal technology and initiatives. The same technology that is being used on our Gulf waters is also helping our inland communities turn brackish groundwater into drinking water."

The idea for a desalination observance was developed jointly by members of the Texas Conservation Association and the South Central Membrane Association to raise awareness of the opportunities for this technology that exist in the state. The Senator explained, "I, for one, have seen-and tasted-the promise of desalinated water. I think no member of the Texas Legislature would argue when I say that of the many pressing demands on limited state resources, none is more important than water."

The population of Texas is projected to more than double from 2000 to 2060, increasing from 21 million to 46 million inhabitants. This growth will boost water demand by 27 percent; however, water supplies are expected to decrease by 18 percent, primarily because of accumulating sediments in reservoirs and depletion of fresh water aquifers. Desalination of seawater is a proven technology providing water supply solutions for countries worldwide and to communities across Texas, from Cameron County to San Angelo.

Major funding for seawater desalination studies has been provided by the Texas Water Development Board through a legislative initiative proposed by Gov. Perry in 2002. Further appropriations by the Legislature has allowed the Texas Water Development Board to fund numerous brackish groundwater desalination studies with the goal of accelerating development of new water supplies in rural communities.

Members of the Desalination Day Delegation were:

Linda Fernandez     South Central Membrane Association & Texas Water Conservation Association
Tony Bennett     TCB - AECOM & SCMA
Lou Portillo     Kimley-Horn
Collin Balcombe     U.S Bureau of Reclamation
Bill Norris     NRS Consulting Engineers & SCMA & TWCA
Jesus Leal     NRS Consulting Engineers & SCMA
David Bell     West Central Texas MWD
Michael Gisclair     Veolia Water
Chris Burt     Veolia Water
Eduardo Campirano     Brownsville Public Utilities Board
Genova G. Gomez     Brownsville Public Utilities Board & SCMA
Robert Sanchez     Brownsville Public Utilities Board
John Bruciak     Brownsville Public Utilities Board & SCMA
Calvin Finch     San Antonio Water System & TWCA
Jim Conkwright     High Plains Underground Water Conservation District #1 & TWCA

Note: Legislative Director Ian Randolph handles this issue for the Senator and he can be reached at 512-463-0127.

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