Testimony submited April 19th to the Natural Resources Comittee to support the creation of an online system for letting swimers in Texas know of the lastest data on fecal baterial contamination in Texas rivers, lakes and streams through HB 1143.
April 20th, 2021
On behalf of the organization Environment Texas and our members across the state, I would like to express our support for Representative Ramos’ HB 1143.
Texans love to jump into cold water on hot days, but all too often our state’s beautiful rivers, lakes and beaches are not as safe as they seem. Pollution, rainfall events, and more can cause unexpected blooms of toxic algae that make our waterways unsafe for swimming.
Beachgoers are currently protected through the online publication of data indicating the danger of pathogenic bacteria on our beaches, but the danger is not just limited to beaches. According to Environment Texas research, 49% of texas freshwater sites were unsafe for swimming on at least one testing day in 2017, but that data is not easily available online until much too late to prevent swimmers from getting sick. Swimming in contaminated water can lead to gastrointestinal illness, as well as respiratory disease, ear and eye infections, and skin rashes.
Texans looking to swim in any of our creeks, rivers, and springs should be protected in the same way that beachgoers currently are. HB 1143 would make information on the safety of Texas’ waters publicly available so that Texans can make safe and informed decisions about when and where to swim, fish, and recreate. Please support HB 1143 to give Texans greater transparency around what's in our water and keep us safe when we swim.
Thank you for your consideration,
Clean Water Associate
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