WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Local lawmakers are taking a victory lap after passing legislation that requires the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to issue guidance for all Texas cities interested in developing direct potable water projects.
As the summer heat returns to Texas, Wichita Falls Utilities Operations Manager said clean drinking water becomes an even hotter commodity.
“You go east of Wichita Falls, or especially east of Texas where there is a lot of water. They don’t worry about where their water resources come from. But you start heading west, from Texas to New Mexico, out to California, water resources are hard to come by and so you have to capitalize on what is available,” Nix said.
Reasons why Nix teamed up with Senator Charles Perry, Senator Drew Springer, and Representative James Frank to make direct potable reuse projects a priority during the legislative session.
“Senator Perry and his staff in cooperation with Senator Springer put together this Senate bill and sent it down for consideration. Representative Frank did the same thing on the House side so there were 2 companion bills,” Nix said.
Nix’s own experience with developing a direct potable reuse system began amid a drought that began back in 2010.
Without any formal guidance from the TCEQ, Wichita Falls developed its own system from scratch, an experience Senator Springer hopes other cities can avoid now that SB 905 has passed.
“Senator Perry and I, along with James Frank, realized the importance that items during a drought cause and if you don’t have water to your house, your house is worthless. You can’t continue to go as a community.” Springer said.
A sentiment shared by District 69 Representative James Frank when he said that he is optimistic about the impact the bill makes on the availability of clean drinking water.
“Really it makes sure that TCEQ, our mineral quality folks in texas, put a guidance document out saying ahead of time what the rules are, what our city had to do, and what we don’t what any other to have to do, is to have to wait and ask mother may I every time they are trying to do something because time is of the essence if you get in a situation like this,” Frank said.
A fail safe option for cities heading into a hot Texas summer.