orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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March 7, 2013

APNewsBreak: Texas board lists top water projects

(Continued)

AUSTIN, Texas —

The water board also has a $6 billion bond authority and about $500 million left from money it received from the state more than 10 years ago. With $2 billion from the Legislature, that would allow it to come up with $8 billion for its top projects.

"We're going to give them enough money that is going to have to last them 50 years," Fraser said. "What we're asking them to do going forward is very different than what we are doing now. That's why we're looking at a different government structure."

Bradford defended the agency's performance.

"The thing that bothers me the most and I keep hearing is mismanagement," Bradford said. "And it's just not the case."

Laura Huffman, director of the Texas Nature Conservancy, believes ranking the projects is an important part of the process. But she also said the highest-ranked projects should be for communities that have a true need for more water and not just the largest population centers.

"Funding criteria should strongly consider utilities that have low per capita water use and low water losses as an indicator that existing supplies have been stretched as far as possible," Huffman said.

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