The new law, known as SB 1430, takes effect in September and is expected to strengthen incentives for the creation of desalinated seawater supplies along the state’s 367-mile coastline by streamlining and expediting the permitting process to extend benefits upstream. It provides that the holders of water rights in any Texas river basin will be entitled to an expedited permit amendment of their existing water rights by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) when they diversify their water supply to include seawater desalination. For applications subject to a hearing, applicants will be entitled to a decision within 270 days on proposals to move their surface water diversion point(s) upstream within the same river basin. The law does not provide those benefits to the transfer of water rights from one river basin to another.
“With this new law, the Legislature has taken an important step to promote much needed diversification and expansion of in-state water supplies. It has also shown national policy leadership with an approach that is both environmentally responsible and market-oriented,” said Carlos Rubinstein, Poseidon Water’s Senior Advisor. “We are confident that it will speed up the development of new, drought-proof water supplies through seawater desalination to help meet the urgent needs of Texas’s growing population.”
Passed unanimously by both houses, the law was championed as SB 1430 by Sen. Charles Perry (Senate District 28 and Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Water Committee) and as HB 2894 by Rep. Eddie Lucio III (House District 38 and longtime champion of seawater desalination). It was signed by Governor Abbott on June 1. Poseidon Water’s CEO, Carlos Riva, said “we applaud and thank Senator Perry and Representative Lucio for their strong leadership on this important issue. They forged an avenue of approach to a statewide challenge that was able to win unanimous, bipartisan support. Poseidon Water would also like to express its appreciation to Governor Abbott for signing SB 1430 into law.”
Poseidon Water is a leading U.S. water infrastructure development specialist that employs a performance-based, public-private partnership approach to improve a broad range of municipal water and wastewater infrastructure. Poseidon is a subsidiary of Brookfield Infrastructure Partners and has been actively engaged in Texas since 2013.