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Texas Border and Mexican Affairs

Colonia Initiatives Program

During the 76th Texas Legislative session in 1999, legislators passed and Governor George W. Bush signed a bill to advance efforts to get colonia residents’ homes connected to water and wastewater services more expediently.

As a major part of this new legislation, the Office of the Secretary of State hired a Director of Colonia Initiatives to work in Austin, and supervise six Colonia Ombudspersons to work in border counties with the highest colonia populations: Hidalgo, El Paso, Starr, Webb, Cameron and Maverick counties.

The Colonia Initiatives Program is part of the Texas Border and Mexican Affairs Division of the Secretary of State's Office.

The coordinators serve as advocates among border colonia residents, state agencies, local governments, and utility companies to ensure residents are connected to water and wastewater services in the most efficient and timely manner possible.

This program is a major part of the Secretary of State’s efforts to improve the quality of life for colonia residents along the border. To contact the Colonia Ombudsperson nearest you, please visit the link on the left-hand column of this page, or click on "Directory of Colonia Ombudspersons."