BATON ROUGE, La. (KNOE) - Life's most basic need is now Senator Francis Thompson's priority.
Courtesy: KNOE 8 News
"We're making progress," Thompson said.
Making progress on the water issues running rampant in the state. His new bill SB17 would create The Rural Water Infrastructure Committee, a 17-person team made up of people like the governor, Department of Health officials, and other political leaders to try and run the faucet on a plan to address old and failing rural water systems.
"That is a solution to a very serious problem in this state," Thompson said.
The bill would look to find federal, state, and local funding to repair these systems. The state has 1,300 different water systems, and half of them are 50 years old or more.
Thompson says fixing them is long overdue.
"We have seen from experience if we let them break down, communities suffer - the nursing homes, the hospitals, the schools," Thompson said. "It shuts down everyone. So, we're trying to eliminate that dilemma."
People in Northeast Louisiana aren't strangers to bad water. In the past few years, officials have found lead in the water in St. Joseph and Enterprise. Furthermore, the Town of Clayton has been written up 11 times for water violations since November of 2017.
Thompson is hoping this committee would stop future problems in any way possible before they come to a boil.
"Everything is on the table," he said. "We're going to try to find out how we can get these systems, that are some 50 or more years old, back in operational condition."