<div class="byline">Rep. Glenn Rogers\n(HD 60)<\/div>\nFor generations, water availability attracted people to Parker, Palo Pinto, and Stephens Counties. In 1881, one newcomer to a place now known as Mineral Wells wrote, \u201cThere are several hundred people there for the benefit of their health. There is but one well and it does not offer enough water to supply those who are there.\u2026Two other wells are being dug.\u201d\n\nJust two years later, 125 wells provided the miraculous water that was thought to heal any sickness or ailment to hundreds and hundreds of visitors and people starting new lives. The famed water business boomed and grew until World War II, placing Mineral Wells on every map of Texas.\n\nEver since, residents in our communities have cherished the lax regulations on drilling water wells. While this can be seen as an advantageous factor to life in our counties, our recent column on the state of water availability in House District 60 warned of a potential water crisis if groundwater is drilled to near depletion or if we face another severe drought.\n\nIn an effort to protect our precious water and its availability, our team has crafted legislation to create the Cross Timbers Regional Utility Authority (CTRUA). This multi-county board (made up by members appointed by elected county and city officials) will coordinate water conservation and procurement efforts for the region. This will save time and decrease costs by eliminating duplication of effort, identifying opportunities for cooperation, and leveraging economies of scale.\n\nBringing forward cooperative, coordinated plans which represent regional issues will give the Cross Timbers Regional Utility Authority a stronger voice as it competes for funding on both the state and federal level. As has been proven across the State, regional authorities are much better positioned to acquire funds from the Texas Water Development Board and other sources. Regional, cooperating authorities are also better suited to assist struggling small water utilities with the technical and financial expertise needed to gain compliance and funding.\n\nIt is important for readers to know that the CTRUA will not have taxing authority. The bill is still subject to change, however the major implications of this bill will remain the same until it is passed.\n\nOver twenty local organizations and entities support this bill, including the Commissioners Courts of Stephens, Palo Pinto, and Parker Counties, along with numerous other municipalities, water districts, political groups, Economic Development Corporations, and Chambers of Commerce. Our team appreciates every organization that has voiced their support of this effort to ensure the District will always have reliable water sources and will soon publish a full list of supporters. Many constituents have expressed that water is one of their top concerns. Local businesses depend on ample water, including of course, our historic and famous local water sellers and suppliers.\n\nIn one of the many resolutions passed across the District supporting our legislation, the Stephens County Commissioners Court declared, \u201cRegional communities are stronger together, and cooperation provides the synergy needed to pool resources and combine the interests of all stakeholders; a regional utility is in the best interest of our citizens, our region, and Texas as a whole.\u201d\n\nThe time is now to pass such legislation. Our communities are rapidly growing and our prosperity depends on water availability. If a solution is not implemented, the water restrictions that are in place now will only become more severe.\n\nAbundant, dependable, safe water is a legacy we owe to our children and grandchildren. Establishing the Cross Timbers Regional Utility Authority is a responsible first-step in creating the plans and obtaining the funding to make sure future water supplies are available to meet future water demands.