Capitol Office: (512) 463-0564
District Office: (979) 848-1770
Monday, April 14, 2014

Bonnen Testifies Before TCEQ in Support of Watermaster

Insider's Report Vol. 10 No. 1

Last week, I was proud to stand before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s commissioners and represent the voices of those who rely upon the Brazos River for water.  In my testimony, I requested the creation of a Watermaster to cover the entire Brazos River basin.  This has been a major priority for me since my legislative efforts in 2013, when I filed House Bill 2452 to expedite this endeavor.

My actions in filing legislation and testifying at the TCEQ hearing were prompted by great concern for the communities in my district who have been forced to frequently make senior water rights calls in order to receive their rightfully permitted water.  Although this situation has been exacerbated by the drought, the reality is that users along the lower Brazos River are not receiving their water due to misuse and misallocation upstream.  It is vital that each precious drop of this resource is proactively managed and allocated.  A Watermaster will have the data and information to respond more effectively in ensuring all water rights users obtain the water they are entitled to receive, while also enabling the state to track and identify issues to better assist in water management and planning purposes for all those dependent on the Brazos River.

I am pleased that the Commission favorably voted to create a Watermaster for the lower Brazos River basin including Possum Kingdom.  While I am disappointed that they chose not to include the entire basin, the commissioners did commit to monitor and study subsequent data to determine the need to expand the Watermaster’s authority to include the entire basin in the future.  This is a victory for the citizens, farmers, ranchers, and local industry who desperately need this water to keep our local communities strong.

Dennis in the District

I had the opportunity to discuss our state’s current transportation infrastructure as well as future funding opportunities for transportation at the Greater 288 Partnership Transportation Funding Workshop last Thursday.  Initiatives devised by the Legislature last session will allow Texans to vote on a transportation funding option this November.  Keep an eye out for more information on SJR 1 so that you can be an informed voter when visiting the polls this fall.

Panelists Sen. Larry Taylor, Rep. Ed Thompson, TxDOT CFO James Bass, TxDOT
Commissioner Jeff Austin and myself at the Transportation Funding Workshop.

As a citizen of Angleton, I was proud to moderate the Angleton Chamber of Commerce’s candidate forum for Angleton City Council and Angleton ISD school board candidates.  All of the candidates did an excellent job presenting their visions for our city and school district, and their efforts to take a stand on behalf of our citizens and youth should be applauded.

Pictured with participants in the Angleton Chamber city and school board candidate
forum along with Beth Journeay, chamber president.

Kim and I also had a great time attending the  Brazosport Regional Health Foundation's annual Bluebonnet Social on Friday night with special guest Clay Walker!  Funds raised from this event benefit our local Brazosport Regional Health System to ensure we can continue to fulfill the healthcare needs of our citizens.