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Robert R. Puente, J.D.
Robert R. Puente was appointed San Antonio Water System's president and CEO in November 2008. As chief executive of one of the nation's largest utilities, he provides leadership in delivering water and wastewater services to more than 1.6 million consumers, developing new water resources, continuing infrastructure upgrades throughout the community, and building regional partnerships.
Puente served in the Texas House of Representatives before being tapped for the interim president/CEO role at SAWS in May 2008. First elected in 1991, Puente was immediately appointed to the House Natural Resources Committee, which develops water policy for the state. He became its chairman in 2003.
As one of the policy pioneers of modern water supply management in Texas, Puente helped shape key regional water issues, beginning with the creation of the Edwards Aquifer Authority legislation in 1993.
Other landmark water legislation stewarded by Puente include:
- SB 1 (1997) established regional approach to water management planning.
- SB 1 (1997) clarified emergency drought response and planning statewide.
- SB 2 (2001) developed additional water resource financing mechanisms.
- SB 2 (2001) addressed conjunctive planning for ground and surface water.
- HB 4 (2007) formed statewide Water Conservation Advisory Council.
- HB 4 (2007) provided focus on water conservation plans for cities.
In his final year in the House, Puente successfully sponsored Senate Bill 3, which advanced a comprehensive statewide water management strategy, leveraging the proven strengths of the regional planning model. This landmark bill also solidified Edwards Aquifer pumping permits, saving the region hundreds of millions of dollars.
Throughout his legislative career, Puente served on numerous committees including Local Ways and Means, Bexar Metropolitan Water District Legislative Oversight, Edwards Aquifer Legislative Oversight, Study Commission on Water for Environmental Flows and Water Advisory Council.
In 1979, Puente received a bachelor's degree in political science from St. Mary's University. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from The University of Texas School of Law in 1982. Prior to joining SAWS, he practiced law as a private attorney and managed his own firm since 1983.
He is active in several San Antonio community organizations and has received numerous awards including Legislator of the Year from American Water Works Association-Texas Section in 2006 and Water Environment Association of Texas Public Official Award in 2008.
Puente is married to Carmen Muñiz Puente. They have three children.