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Sun Mar 3, 2013, 04:26 AM

Plan to revamp water board sparks political influence concerns

A proposal to revamp the state water board has turned a spotlight on concerns about oversight of an agency that in the coming years likely will be entrusted to handle billions of additional taxpayer dollars meant for projects to protect Texas from ruinous drought.

For decades, the Texas Water Development Board has been an obscure state agency, essentially acting as a bank that lends money, at low interest rates, to communities wishing to build new wells, repair aging sewage treatment plants and engineer new pipelines.

But under an ambitious plan to upgrade the state’s water-bearing and storage infrastructure, the board stands poised to control $2 billion in new state money.

After a scandal over the management of cancer research money controlled by a small state agency, and in the muddied game of Texas politics, governance of the board has become a political football.

More at http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/plan-to-revamp-water-board-sparks-political-influe/nWfgg/ .

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