Texas is once again poised to take action on its need for affordable and sustainable water supplies. The funding program created in 2013 by Texas legislators and voters to provide cost-effective financial assistance for state water plan projects — the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas, or SWIFT program* — is opening for its second round of applications.
The Texas Water Development Board was ready to receive applications for SWIFT assistance beginning Dec. 1, 2015. Entities will have until Feb. 5 to submit the preliminary, two-page application. For the 2016 funding cycle, the TWDB anticipates having $650 million available for new applications.
Earlier this year, the TWDB approved the first-ever round of financial assistance from the SWIFT program. Across Texas, the total amount of financial assistance for SWIFT projects in 2015 was approximately $900 million for the first year. The TWDB estimates that communities who participated in this first round of SWIFT will save at least $106 million through SWIFT’s low-cost financing.
The types of projects we approved were as varied as the geography and water needs of the state. Projects included planning, design, and construction of transmission lines, wells, land acquisition, seawater desalination, brackish groundwater desalination, canal linings, reservoirs and metering systems.
We want to make an even bigger impact with this next round of funding. Our state water plan data tells us that by 2060, statewide water demand is projected to increase by 22 percent. In Region H, the regional water planning area that includes Conroe, water demand is expected to increase by 48 percent in that time period. Much of the growth in water demand is fueled by Texas’ increasing population and economic development. By 2060, the state’s population is projected to grow 82 percent. In Region H, the population will grow by an estimated 89 percent.
To meet our future water demands, we need water projects that will both expand and strengthen the efficient use of our existing water supply.
To be eligible for the 2016 SWIFT funding cycle, projects must be included in the adopted 2016 Regional Water Plans and the subsequent 2017 State Water Plan. Communities with projects in those plans can submit their applications for financial assistance.
Applying now for the funding available from the TWDB through SWIFT and our other financial assistance programs will allow Texas to meet its future water demands. Without water, we lose the ability to power our businesses, homes, and communities. With water, we continue to attract businesses to our state and enhance the quality of life for Texas families for years to come.
Our hope is that every community in Texas will benefit from the state’s unprecedented water development efforts. For that to happen, community leadership only needs to reach out to us– we are here to provide technical support and to find the right funding option for you. Conroe, please join us in this effort by submitting your applications for SWIFT funding. Allow us to partner with you in ensuring that Texas is turning its planning efforts into impactful projects so that our children and our children’s children will have the water they need for the future.
To apply for funding from SWIFT or the TWDB’s other financial assistance programs, visit the TWDB’s financial assistance page at www.twdb.texas.gov/financial/index.asp or contact the TWDB at 512-463-0991 or Financial_Assistance@twdb.texas.gov.
* The SWIFT program includes two funds, the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIRFT). Revenue bonds for the program are issued through the SWIRFT.
Senator Brandon Creighton represents Senate District 4. He served four terms in the House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate in 2014.
Kathleen Jackson has served as a Board member for the Texas Water Development Board since March 2014. She is a registered professional engineer.
The Texas Water Development Board’s mission is to provide leadership, information, education, and support for planning, financial assistance, and outreach for the conservation and responsible development of water for Texas