Gov. Perry signs $2 billion water bill

New water legislation signed

Governor Rick Perry signed new legislation Tuesday aimed to secure the state's future water supply.

More than 100-years-old, portions of the Rio Grande Valley's water supply infrastructure is crumbling.

"Many of the districts have a tremendous amount of old facilities and structures," Harlingen water district manager Wayne Halbert said.

This new legislation is aimed to fix that.

"We have to give our districts some tools to get there because we are behind in water conservation in the Rio Grande Valley and across the state, Halbert said.

The new law provides $2 billion available in low interest loans to water districts across the state so they can revamp aging channels and pipelines.

Placing underground piping or lining a canal with concrete are very expensive projects, but the new loan programs makes it possible to finance these projects for local water districts.

Federal grants are not easy to obtain and districts can't borrow money for a single project for more than three years, making large projects difficult to fund.

"We've been able to get a few each year for small projects but nothing on a large scale," Halbert said.

Now the money is available.

But the lack of water can only be solved from up above.

Voters will be asked to approve the $2 billion fund on the November ballot.