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has great value, the 2012 State Water Plan over predicts water demands and too often proposes to meet the demands with outdated and expensive solutions.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.
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