The State Water Plan

The Texas State Water Plan projects long-term water demands for all regions of the state and proposes water supply solutions to meet those demands. It affects all Texans.

The Plan is revised on an ongoing five-year cycle and is comprised of the water plans of 16 different regions. The fourth round of regional water planning, which will result in the 2017 State Water Plan, is currently underway. The current State Water Plan was adopted in 2012.

Although it has great value, the 2012 State Water Plan over predicts water demands and too often proposes to meet the demands with outdated and expensive solutions. Implementation of this plan is estimated at a staggering $53 billion, including the construction of 26 reservoir sites, which would have environmentally damaging impacts and significant evaporative losses. The Plan does not take full advantage of water conservation and drought response and fails to account for water needed to safeguard the health and productivity of our rivers and estuaries.

Shrimp Boats on the Texas Coast Photo Courtesy of TPWD, 2004

Shrimp Boats on the Texas Coast
Photo Courtesy of TPWD, 2004

As we move forward in the 21st century, Texas clearly needs a more comprehensive and fiscally-responsible approach to providing water to sustain the people and the environment of Texas. We can accomplish that goal by refining the State Water Plan to better define our true water needs and by implementing a State funding mechanism that provides for truly efficient use of already-developed water resources and for protection of fish and wildlife.

In 2013, Texas voters overwhelming approved Proposition 6 – a proposed state constitutional amendment that created a new state water fund for water projects in the state water plan. Approval of “Prop 6” indirectly transferred $2 billion from the state’s “rainy day” fund into this new State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) to finance projects in the state water plan. When Texas legislators proposed Prop 6 to the voters in 2013 they also passed House Bill 4 (HB 4). HB 4 tasks TWDB with administering the SWIFT and sets out some of the basic provisions by which decisions are to be made about how SWIFT monies may be used to assist water projects and strategies, including a provision that not less than 20% of SWIFT funds be used for conservation or reuse projects. Read more on HB4 and the development of the draft rules


Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR)

Case Study: Proposed Marvin Nichols Reservoir

The proposed massive Marvin Nichols dam is a prime example of the unnecessary reliance on new reservoirs and pipelines instead of water conservation. This dam would create one of the largest reservoirs in Texas, flooding over 72,000 acres on the Sulphur River in rural Northeast Texas

Get Involved

Learn how you can help at home, in your community and at the state level to improve the way Texas plans for meeting future water needs.

Reservoirs or Conservation?

The 2012 State Water Plan proposes building 26 reservoirs and hundreds of miles of pipelines to move water to cities. Many of these projects are unnecessary and could be avoided with responsible water conservation measures.

Steps to Improve Texas Water Planning

The State Water Plan and water planning process do not fully take advantage of water conservation and drought response and fail to adequately address the needs of fish, wildlife, and the environment.

UPDATED: Regional Water Planning Process

Texas’ regional water planning process was initiated by Senate Bill 1 in 1997. This process charges sixteen regional water planning groups with the development of long-term regional water plans that are assembled into a State Water Plan.

NEW: Region H Water Planning

NEW: South Central Texas Regional Water Planning (Region L)

NEW: Lower Colorado Regional Water Planning (Region K)

NEW: Region C Water Planning

Useful Links and Resources

Useful links to additional information on state and regional water planning in Texas.