Today represents a historic step forward for the State of Texas, reflecting an increased emphasis on meeting our growing need for water.
With a surging economy and a population that's growing by more than 1,000 a day, we can't hesitate to address this critical natural resource.
It's an essential part of every Texan's life, and meeting our needs will result in new jobs, healthy communities, and an improved quality of life for all of us.
In a few moments, I will swear in the first full-time members of the Texas Water Development Board; people who will take the lead in seeing that Texas never goes thirsty.
By design, these board members have a wide variety of backgrounds, talents and experiences, and will work together to determine the best way forward to ensure Texas farmers, employers and homeowners get the water they need to do their jobs.
The job facing these capable individuals is simple: keep water on their minds, 24/7.
This is particularly critical in the many areas of this state that are currently facing ongoing drought. In some cases, extreme drought.
We have to be prepared to deal with any drought that comes along, and this board should help us meet those challenges as they arise.
Every available resource we invest in water now is an investment in the future of Texas and a way to keep our state the best place to live, work, build a business and raise a family.
This restructuring is possible through the passage of HB 4 last session, which also creates new funds that will support local and regional projects and lower the cost of issuing bonds for much-needed projects.
With voter approval this fall, this $2 billion investment will be enough to fulfill the 2012 State Water Plan, securing our water supplies for generations.
I'd like to commend Rep. Ritter, who authored the legislation but could not be here today.
And now, I'm honored to swear in the new members of the Texas Water Development Board.