By Ruthie Redmond
December 08, 2016
While there are numerous ways to manage water in Texas, conservation is one of the cheapest and most environmentally beneficial strategies that can be used. More and more utilities are understanding these benefits and are implementing water conservation strategies in their communities. A new way to finance water conservation projects is the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT), a water infrastructure financing program made available through the Texas Water Development Board.
One of the great aspects of SWIFT is that 20 percent of funds are set aside for water conservation and reuse projects. The Sierra Club and their partners in the Texas Living Waters project successfully advocated for this set-aside for water conservation and we are proud of its inclusion in SWIFT.
During the first round of SWIFT Funding only 5 percent of the projects that applied for SWIFT Funds were for water conservation. However, Kathleen Jackson of the Texas Water Development Board says that in the most-recent funding cycle, “more than 35 percent of the total funds requested were for conservation and reuse projects.”
— Texas Living Waters (@txwater) November 7, 2016
Dec. 1 of this year marked the next round of SWIFT funding and the Texas Living Waters Project is hoping even more utilities will take advantage of the funds available for conservation.
The Texas Water Development Board is doing its part by working with utilities and applicants to guide them through the SWIFT funding process. We at the Texas Living Waters project are helping utilities understand and access SWIFT conservation funds. We are organizing SWIFT Funding Workshops around the state that highlight water conservation. These workshops bring together water utility managers and policy makers to discuss the opportunities and challenges of using SWIFT funds for water conservation projects.
— Texas Living Waters (@txwater) December 8, 2016
In addition to these workshops, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to navigating the SWIFT application process for small- and medium-sized utilities, Navigating the SWIFT Application Process: Water Conservation Projects.
Nobody needs to tell Texas how important our water is. In order for Texas to have enough water into the future, we need to use our existing supplies as efficiently and responsibly as possible. Keeping water conservation projects at the forefront of our planning is a vital first step for ensuring abundant water for both humans and wildlife.
Cities all across Texas been awarded SWIFT low-interest loans. Now’s the time for other Texas utilities to do the same!
More information about SWIFT Funding can be found here.
The next SWIFT Workshop will be held on Dec. 15 in Richmond, Texas. Register today to learn about how you can leverage SWIFT funds for water conservation.