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Lawmakers Approve Funding For Texas Water Plan, Setting Up Statewide Vote

State Reps Allan Ritter, with arms crossed, and Jim Pitts, at podium, argue for SJR1. (Mose Buchele/ StateImpact Texas)

Come November, Texas voters might see some campaigning to amend the constitution. The Senate needs constitutional amendments to create two water fund accounts. Mose Buchele from StateImpact Texas reports.

These accounts, State Water Implementation Fund of Texas (SWIFT) and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund of Texas (SWIRFT), would be used to provide low-interest loans for regional water projects in Texas. It's under the measure called Senate Joint Resolution One (SJR1) and the Texas Water Development Board would manage the accounts and choose the projects. However, to create these accounts, voters need to give their approval.

The State Legislature approved the advance funding for Texas’ State Water Plan at Wednesday’s meeting. The House voted 130-16 to call for the constitutional amendment. The Senate passed a supplementary budget bill with a 29-3 vote that would put around $2 billion dollars from the rainy day fund in the water bank.

StateImpact also reports that Texas lawmakers have talked about taking money from the rainy day fund to to fulfill the need of water in times of a drought. The vote was scheduled in the Senate House on Monday, but didn’t happen until Wednesday, which was passed a House deadline. Lawmakers wanted to make sure the supplementary budget contained what they wanted.

While the vote brings them closer to their goals, the Senate and House still need to finalize the budget and get state voter approval.