Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry Addresses WATEC Israel 2013

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013  •  Tel Aviv, Israel  •  Speech

As anyone who lives in Israel or West Texas can tell you, water is an issue that will define our times.

I grew up with a special affinity for the importance of water, on a dryland cotton farm in West Texas, near a town called Paint Creek. A town so small it didn't even rate being noted on our state maps until I became governor.

At any rate, as someone who grew up on a farm, I know how devastating a lack of water can be.

I understand the anxiety you feel as you endlessly scan a cloudless sky looking for some sign of relief.

And you don't have to work the land to realize just how important water is to a state, or a country.

In Texas, we have communities that have trucked in water, almost daily for the past 20 months.

For the people who live there, they simply can't take for granted that the water will be there the next time they turn their tap.

That's why the kinds of technology we're seeing and hearing about at this conference is so vital to states like mine, and for countless states and nations around the world.

It's fitting that this conference is held here in Israel, which faces the special challenge of managing relatively scarce water resources with continued economic and population growth.

Texas faces many of the same challenges and, like Israel, we must strive to utilize new technologies and new strategies to conserve and expand our supplies of fresh water.

Texas has always been about finding innovative solutions to new challenges. We're the birthplace of the integrated circuit, created by Texas Instruments in the 1950s.

We played a key role in the Space Race...and in securing America's presence in space in the years since.

And we are currently developing important new life-saving treatments and technologies for a variety of diseases at places like Houston's MD Anderson Cancer Center.

In Texas, much like here in Israel, we embrace the role that research will play in determining our quality of life in the future, and in ensuring our economic strength for decades to come.

To that end, we've recently passed a measure that, with voter approval in a few weeks, will provide $2 billion to assist with funding water projects across our state for the next 50 years.

These projects will cover a lot of territory, both geographically and technologically.

They'll have to.

We all know fresh water is a limited resource, and that conservation and new technology will be key in keeping the water flowing

In Texas, we currently have more than 40 installations working to desalinate brackish groundwater, with much of that water being used to supply drinking water to communities across Texas.

But we realize that's only the beginning, and we're always ready to embrace new approaches and ideas. That's just one reason Texas is an ideal site for anyone looking for a place to prove their new technology.

Texas has nearly 5,000 public water systems, serving communities of all sizes, situated in a wide variety of climates and topographies.

That makes our state a perfect incubator for new technologies.

That makes Texas a place where innovative new technologies can be put into action, proved up, and scaled up.

That's, by definition, a win-win situation.

It also means they get to do business in Texas, which is always a bonus.

That's because we've worked hard to create a climate conducive for any business, young or established, big or small, to make the most of their opportunities.

We keep our taxes low, so employers and employees alike get to keep more of their hard-earned dollars.

We've passed tort reform, so our courts are fair and don't allow for over-suing.

We keep our regulations smart, predictable and effective, so work can start on a new project, for example, in weeks, rather than months it might take in some other states.

That doesn't mean we don't take care of our own; our system of common sense regulations works.

Texas' air quality is significantly better than it was in 2000, with ozone levels down 23 percent, more than double the national average, and nitrogen oxide levels down by nearly 58 percent.

We've been able to do that during a time of rapid economic and population growth, with 5.2 million new Texans joining us in the Lone Star State since 2000.

And we've also invested heavily in accountable schools, building a world-class workforce, so Texas workers are ready to fill any role any employer may require.

Part of the reason we do that is so we're ready to take advantage when new technology companies come calling.

In Texas, we firmly believe in the power of competition to make good things happen. And we also want to be home to wildly successful new water projects.

Once again, I commend all of you here for the hard work you do. It's truly among the most vital of all the challenges before us.

Conferences like this, which bring together so many people dedicated to the cause, will certainly help us meet these challenges much more quickly.

Thank you again for having me here today, and may God bless you.

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