The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) recently approved approximately $3.9 billion in financial assistance from the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT). The inaugural round of SWIFT financing will be distributed to 21 applicants for approximately $1 billion in projects in the first year and approximately $3.9 billion total over the next decade.
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) recently approved approximately $3.9 billion in financial assistance from the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT). The inaugural round of SWIFT financing will be distributed to 21 applicants for approximately $1 billion in projects in the first year and approximately $3.9 billion total over the next decade. Three projects have been funded in the Texas Hill Country.
“Being able to finance projects through SWIFT is a major step toward achieving the goal of securing Texas’ long-term water supplies,” said TWDB Chairman Bech Bruun. “The projects selected to receive SWIFT financing will help ensure that Texans have sustainable and reliable water sources for decades to come.”
The applicants are requesting funding for 32 projects identified in the state water plan. The types of projects approved include transmission pipelines, canal linings, capacity expansions, seawater desalination, leak detection systems, water meter replacements, and reservoirs.
“The Board was pleased to see a wide range of projects represented in the SWIFT applications,” said TWDB Board member Carlos Rubinstein. “One of those projects, Lake Ralph Hall, is the first reservoir permitted by the State of Texas since 1985 and an important water supply strategy for North Texas.”
SWIFT was established by the Texas Legislature and voters in 2013 to fund projects in the state water plan. SWIFT was created through the transfer of a one-time, $2 billion appropriation from the state’s Rainy Day Fund. The $2 billion will be leveraged with revenue bonds over the next 50 years to finance approximately $27 billion in water supply projects.
“We took the legislature and voters of Texas very seriously when they put their confidence in us to manage SWIFT,” said TWDB Board member Kathleen Jackson. “We’ve traveled the state, engaged communities, and developed a new approach to fast-track the state water plan. We are beyond excited to approve the first round of SWIFT financing and see the large number of impactful projects moving forward to develop water for Texas.”
Hill Country projects selected for SWIFT financial assistance include:
- $55,000,000 to the Canyon Regional Water Authority (Guadalupe, Bexar, Caldwell, Comal, Hays, and Wilson counties) for a water supply project
- This money will be used for Stage II of the Wells Ranch project to complete Carrizo wells and pumping stations for piping an additional 7,000 acre feet/year of water to their wholesale customers.
- $8,000,000 to the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (DeWitt, Victoria, Calhoun, Refugio, Gonzales, Caldwell, Hays, Comal, Guadalupe, and Kendall counties) for a co-located seawater desalination/power plant, more commonly referred to as the IWPP project.
- This project will serve down-basin industrial and electric generation power and water needs in order to free up upper-basin water for future supply needs. The GBRA predicts 830,000 acre-feet per year of production by 2060.
- $12,500,000 to the Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency (Hays, Caldwell, Comal, and Guadalupe counties) for a water supply project
- This project will fund ROW purchases for construction of an interconnect pipeline and pump station between Kyle and the City of Buda to provide for Buda’s upcoming water shortage.
The TWDB anticipates closing loans for projects approved for SWIFT financing in fall 2015.
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.