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Political Action Committee Preparing To Mobilize Water Bill Support

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio
TPR News

Water Texas, a political action committee formed by Speaker of the House Joe Strauss, R-San Antonio, and Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland, is getting ready to start a campaign to encourage voters to approve the use of $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to help fund the next 50 years of water projects in Texas.

"I think it’s pretty clear to people throughout Texas on how important water is for us to have a functional society," Ritter said. "But it’s also become very clear how little we have, how precious it is, so we are going to be spending the next several months trying to educate people about it and to get them out to vote."

Senate Joint Resolution 1 takes money from the Rainy Day Fund to create a base fund that will act like a bank, which various groups can then borrow from to help fund water projects, paying back the loans with interest.

Ritter said the Water Texas official campaign launch date will be close to Labor Day, Sept. 2.

"You’ll see myself and the speaker and other people get involved to try and deliver the message across Texas," he said.

Ritter didn’t know how much money would be spent on getting out the message, but did say it wouldn’t be a small number.

"I’ve never run a statewide campaign, but I hear they’re kind of expensive," Ritter said.

The bill will be on the ballot this Nov. and is the fourth in a set of nine constitutional amendments that voters will decide. With so many other issues for voters to decide, some lawmakers are worried that the water bill won't pass

Lawmakers decided to postpone putting the recently-passed transportation funding bill onto the 2013 November ballot out of fear that it might cause the water bill to fail due to voter competition -- both plans would pull money from the Rainy Day Fund.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.