The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) today unanimously voted to adopt the 2017 State Water Plan.
“The new state water plan projects that Texas’ population will increase more than 70 percent by the year 2070,” said TWDB Board Chairman Bech Bruun, “and the 2017 State Water Plan is our most comprehensive effort to date to ensure we adequately address the water needs of our growing population. The plan contains more than 5,500 strategies that help us conserve the water we have while also creating additional water supplies.”
Conservation strategies are by far the most frequently recommended strategy in the plan, accounting for over one quarter of strategy supplies in 2070.
“In addition to conservation, communities across Texas developed other innovative solutions to ensure they have adequate water supplies in the future,” said TWDB Board Member Kathleen Jackson. “Aquifer storage and recovery and direct potable reuse, in particular, increased significantly in this plan compared to the 2012 State Water Plan. These increases demonstrate the state’s commitment to exploring a variety of strategies to meet the state’s long-term water demands, including those that rely on the advancements of innovative technology.”
The capital costs associated with implementing the 2017 State Water Plan are $62.6 billion, with water providers estimating they will need about $36.1 billion in state assistance. Projects included in the 2017 State Water Plan are eligible to apply for the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT), the TWDB’s loan program specifically created for projects in the state water plan.
“Water is essential to the economic engine of Texas,” said TWDB Board Member Peter Lake.  “If a severe drought occurs in the next four years and the state does not have sufficient water supplies, the economic impact could be a loss of 424,000 jobs and $73 billion of gross domestic product. Implementing the strategies in this state water plan is a critical financial investment in our state’s future.”
The TWDB produces a new state water plan every five years. The plan is based on 16 regional water plans developed by regional water planning groups. The 2017 State Water Plan will be submitted to the governor, lieutenant governor, and the Texas Legislature by January 2017.
The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning and preparing the state water plan for the development of the state’s water resources. The TWDB administers cost-effective financial assistance programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.