The House of Representatives passed HB 211 on a 67-0 vote, amending the Water Project Finance Act to allow funding from the Water Trust Board to be used on wastewater projects. Originally, the bill eliminated the use of this funding for Endangered Species Act programs, but it was later amended to restore that authorization. The New Mexico Finance Authority administers the funding for Water Trust Board projects, and the bill also includes provisions for providing financial and administrative capacity development and technical assistance for small water systems run by volunteers.
Rep. Susan Herrera, the bill’s sponsor, emphasized the critical role that funding from the Water Trust Board plays in assisting water systems throughout New Mexico, particularly small utilities run by volunteers. She highlighted the importance of delivering clean drinking water around the clock and the challenges faced by small water systems with limited capabilities. The legislation sets up a system to allow the New Mexico Finance Authority to provide technical assistance to these small water systems. With the bill now heading to the Senate, it aims to address the significant demand for grants to fund wastewater treatment facilities and conveyance systems.
In summary, HB 211 brings about important changes to the Water Project Finance Act, allowing for the use of funding from the Water Trust Board for wastewater projects, while also addressing the needs of small water systems and restoring authorization for funding related to the Endangered Species Act. With a focus on providing assistance to small utilities run by volunteers, the bill underscores the critical role of the New Mexico Finance Authority in supporting water projects throughout the state. As the legislation progresses to the Senate, it aims to effectively address the significant demand for grants to fund wastewater treatment facilities and conveyance systems.