The Rural Water Infrastructure Committee was formed after Senate Bill 170 was passed and Gov John Bel Edwards signed off on it.
The committee is housed within the office of the governor to provide advice and guidance to the governor on all matters relative to rural water systems in Louisiana. State Sen. Francis Thompson of Delhi was a strong advocate of the bill.
The 17-member committee will further the efforts of a comprehensive rural water infrastructure plan to address deteriorating public water supply systems and protect the interests, health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Louisiana.
“I have worked on solutions for rural water systems for my entire career of 45 years,” said Thompson. “It is a complicated issue which as progressively gotten worse as our systems age. It’s time we bring solutions to the table for the health and welfare of the citizens of Louisiana.”
Roughly half of Louisiana’s water systems are over 50 years old. An aging infrastructure leads to a potential need for repairs and replacements.
Without adequate funding, the water systems in rural communities are struggling to meet today’s demands.
“In recent years,” Thompson said, “you have seen the headlines surrounding the town of St. Joseph in my district. We brought together assistance from federal, state and local partners and now we have safe, clean drinking water. What we discovered through that year long process was that there are similar deficiencies statewide and there was no one entity you could go to for the answers. I believe Senate Bill 170 changes that.”
Senate Bill 170 was signed by the Edwards on June 6 to become Act No. 136.
To view SB 170 and Thomspon’s other bills, visit http://www.legis.la.gov.