A bill that would authorize a $50 million state water bond will be considered by the Legislature's Energy, Natural Resources and Agriculture Interim Committee next week.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Fred W. Finlinson, R-Salt Lake, would provide $20 million to the Utah Board of Water Resources to be used to finance loans to qualifying cities, towns and water companies, and $30 million to the Utah Department of Health. Half of the $30 million would be used to finance safe drinking water programs through the Utah Safe Drinking Water Committee. The other half would be used to finance wastewater disposal programs through the Water Pollution Control Committee.Last month, Finlinson asked members of the Bear River Task Force, a group of representatives from a number of northern Utah water districts and municipalities, whether they would support such a bill and found strong sentiment favoring the idea.

Many of those present said Utah's four-year drought has exposed many of the weaknesses in the state's water system and that those weaknesses need to be addressed now.

Last month, the water resources board approved several water projects for state loans but told the requesters that they would have to wait for the money until loan repayments were sufficient to fund new projects or a new allocation for the revolving loan fund was forthcoming from the Legislature.