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Texas utilities, it’s time to put together your SWIFT plan

When it comes to cutting unnecessary water use, utilities can play a major leadership role – that’s why it’s a big deal that Texas water utilities have begun using the State Water Implementation Fund (SWIFT) to invest in conservation, for projects big and small.

Water conservation is necessary to make sure Texas has enough water, now and into the future. If your utility is investing in water efficiency in a big way, using SWIFT’s low-interest loans can save money.  Depending on the scale of the project, the reduced interest rates available through SWIFT can save significant money for both the utility and ratepayers.

SWIFT savings

  • City of Bedford saved $11 million on their $90 million project
  • City of Keller saved $1.7 million on their $12.6M million project

Planning for and assembling information to apply for the SWIFT program takes time, and the application period for the fourth round of SWIFT funding will be here before we know it.  The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has not set the exact dates yet, but in the past they have generally opened up abridged application intake in December, with a due date sometime in the first week of February.  The exact dates should be announced this fall.

It is important to note that SWIFT operates hand in hand with the regional water planning process, and any projects that receive funding must be included in regional water plans.  Utilities should participate in the planning process to ensure that your projects are included in these plans.

Start planning for your water conservation projects by using these resources:

The Texas Water Development Board works with utilities and applicants to guide them through the SWIFT funding process.  You can contact Tom Entsminger, and he will connect you with the right person at TWDB.

Navigating the SWIFT Application Process: Water Conservation Projects is a step-by-step guide to the SWIFT application process for small and medium-sized utilities.

2016 SWIFT Workshop Presentation Materials are available and include tips from TWDB, cities that have successfully secured SWIFT applications, and other experts who presented at our workshops series on using SWIFT for water conservation projects.

We need to use our existing supplies as efficiently and responsibly as possible so that Texas will have enough water to meet the future needs of both people and the environment. Keeping water conservation projects at the forefront of our planning process is a vital first step in making sure there is abundant water for both humans and wildlife. We look forward to working with water utilities as more of them lead the way by investing in SWIFT.

Jennifer Walker

Water Resources Program Manager at Sierra Club - Lone Star Chapter
Jennifer has 15 years experience focusing on water policy issues in Texas with an emphasis on water planning, water conservation and bay and estuary protection issues. She and her family like to camp near rivers where they can listen to the frogs sing at night.

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