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Riverbend Water Resources District has been approved for $200 million in loans from the Texas Water Development Board for regional water infrastructure projects.

Former Riverbend Executive Director/CEO Liz Fazio-Hale said the district was excited to receive the initial approval and that they would submit a full application by May.

"Riverbend Water Resources District applied for financial assistance from TWDB for $200 million that will enable Riverbend to pursue a new intake, raw water line and new water treatment facility, also known as the regional water project," she said. "These projects are the result of the regional water master plan study that was unveiled last July. The two-year study cost us $500,000."

Susan Roth with Roth Consulting conducted the study and evaluated the area's water needs and existing infrastructure. The study recommended a new water treatment plant at TexAmericas Center, the new intake on Wright Patman Lake, a new raw water line to TexAmericas and the decommission of the New Boston Road Water Treatment Plant.

Scott Norton, CEO for TexAmericas Center, said it was a great victory for Riverbend and a great opportunity for TexAmericas, as well.

"We have a contract in place for Riverbend to provide non-potable water to TexAmericas by 2026," Norton said. The contract was part of the 2016 TexAmericas wet utilities transfer to Riverbend.

"Riverbend getting this funding approved is another great step toward getting that done and another great step for us as well," he said. "That is one utility we do not have on our footprint. Getting that raw water on our footprint will give us the opportunity to recruit businesses that need that water in their manufacturing processes."

Fazio Hale, whose last day with Riverbend was April 26, said the funds were available through the State Water Infrastructure Fund for Texas, also known as SWIFT. Prior to working at Riverbend, she worked in the Texas Legislature and helped craft the SWIFT legislation.

"The really cool part about this is that I was the architect of the SWIFT legislation at the state when it was created. It has come full circle," she said. "It's just a very exciting experience to share resources and knowledge to get us to this point to even be able to receive the funds and actually qualify is especially rewarding."

Hale resigned her position of four years in March to take the position of assistant general manager for the Gulf Coast Authority. Earlier this month, Riverbend hired Kyle Dooley, who worked for many years with the city of Texarkana, Texas, as her replacement.

A come-and-go reception for Fazio Hale will be held at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday at Texas A&M University, 7101 University Ave., Texarkana, Texas.

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