...ongoing efforts to assist Texans and the removal of administrative barriers in addition to needed changes in the industries.
The governor held calls with power and water providers on Feb. 18 to develop strategies for increasing access to additional power and restore water and expedite additional clean water in communities across the state. Some households in Houston received water on Feb. 18 for the first time in four days.
State agencies are working to distribute food, water, generators and additional supplies to Texas communities. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is working with water quality labs to ensure the safety of drinking water.
"The past several days have been beyond challenging, but with every passing hour we are restoring power and water for families across Texas," Abbott said in a news release. "We are doing all we can to make it through this challenge, and the state continues to deploy resources and personnel throughout the state.”
Thanking all of the men and women working around the clock, he added, “Texans should continue to take proper precautions and follow local guidance to stay safe and warm."
The governor also requested a USDA disaster designation for Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy counties to allow them to be eligible for federal assistance, like providing emergency loans for agricultural producers who have suffered losses in designated counties, as well as in counties that are contiguous to a designated county.
"Texas agricultural producers continue to be greatly affected by the severe ice and freezing temperatures; these weather conditions have substantially affected producers and caused severe production losses," the governor’s request states. "These producers are in need of USDA assistance to return to normal operations."
Early estimates made by Texas Citrus Mutual indicate that Texas citrus sustained approximately $305 million in losses to the crop in the three counties.
Abbott also ordered natural gas producers to not export product out of state until Feb. 21 and instead sell it to providers within Texas.
He also waived regulations to allow commercial drivers and plumbers who otherwise might not be able to assist to help in emergency relief efforts.
In a Feb. 19 news conference, Abbott said the state was prioritizing continuing to restore power to Texas homes.
Downed lines or the need for manual reconnection are the reasons why some are still left without power, he said.
Local providers are working diligently to restore electricity, the governor said.