About the Texas Water Development Board
The mission of the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is to lead the state's efforts in ensuring a secure water future for Texas and its citizens. Our mission is a vital part of Texas' overall vision and the state's mission and goals that relate to maintaining the viability of the state's natural resources, health, and economic development.
To accomplish our goals of planning for the state's water resources and providing affordable water and wastewater services, the TWDB provides water planning, data collection and dissemination, financial assistance, and technical assistance services to the citizens of Texas. The tremendous population growth that the state continues to experience and the recurrent threat of severe drought only intensify the need for the TWDB to accomplish its goals in an effective and efficient manner.
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) was created in 1957. It currently
- supports the development of regional water plans and incorporates them into a state water plan for the orderly and responsible development, management, and conservation of the state's water resources;
- supports the development of regional flood plans and incorporates them into the state flood plan, the first of which is due September 1, 2024.
- provides loans to local governments for water supply projects; water quality projects, including wastewater treatment and nonpoint source pollution control; flood control projects; agricultural water conservation projects; rural and small community water and wastewater projects; and expenses related to administering groundwater conservation districts;
- provides grants and loans for the water and wastewater needs of the state's economically distressed areas;
- provides agricultural water conservation and water-related research and planning grants;
- conducts studies of the occurrence, quantity, quality, and availability of the state's surface water and groundwater;
- collects data and conducts studies concerning the freshwater needs of the state's bays and estuaries; and
- maintains a centralized data repository of information on the state's natural resources called the Texas Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS) and manages the Strategic Mapping (StratMap) Initiative.
A full-time, three-member Board appointed by the governor considers loan applications from eligible applicants, awards grants for water-related research and planning, and conducts other TWDB business, such as approving the state water plan.
General History of the Texas Water Development Board
The Texas Water Development Board's history reaches back into the early part of the twentieth century and tracks the climate and culture of the state. Listed below are a few significant events in the evolution of the agency.
- The 33rd Texas Legislature created the Board of Water Engineers to regulate appropriations of water.
- Texas suffered the most severe drought in the state's history.
- The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) was created by legislative act and constitutional amendment. The constitutional amendment, approved by Texas voters, authorized the TWDB to issue $200 million in State of Texas General Obligation Water Development Bonds for the conservation and development of Texas' water resources through loans to political subdivisions.
- The Board of Water Engineers was reorganized, renamed the Texas Water Commission, and given specific responsibilities for water planning (57th Texas Legislature).
- The Texas Legislature restructured the state water agencies, transferred water resource planning functions to the TWDB and renamed the Texas Water Commission to the Texas Water Rights Commission.
- The Texas Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS) was created, succeeding the Texas Water-Oriented Data Bank, and incorporated a centralized repository and clearinghouse of maps, census information and water-related information.
- The three water agencies existing at the time, the Texas Water Development Board, the Texas Water Rights Commission and the Water Quality Board, were combined by the Texas Legislature, creating the Texas Department of Water Resources. This new single agency was responsible for developing Texas' water resources, maintaining the quality of water and ensuring equitable distribution of water rights.
- Sunset Legislation reorganized the Texas Department of Water Resources, splitting the agency into two separate agencies, the Texas Water Commission and the Texas Water Development Board. The TWDB was made responsible for long-range planning and water project financing.
- The 1997 State Water Plan was adopted as a consensus effort by the TWDB, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.
The 75th Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 1, changing the water planning process in Texas. SB 1 charged local entities with preparing regional water plans every five years and charged the TWDB with incorporating these plans into a comprehensive state water plan.
- The 2002 State Water Plan was published, the first state water plan to be adopted by the TWDB since the passage of SB 1 by the 1997 Texas Legislature.
- The TWDB published its 2007 State Water Plan.
The National Flood Insurance Program was transferred from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to the TWDB.
- The Sunset Advisory Commission's review of the TWDB passed under Senate Bill 660 (82nd Legislative Session). Provisions in the review included the elevation of the director of the Texas Natural Resources Information System to the position of Geographic Information Officer for the state.
Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 4 was passed by the legislature and approved by voters as a constitutional amendment (Proposition 2). Proposition 2 authorized $6 billion in bonds as general obligation bonds on a continuous revolving basis. The TWDB now has the authority to issue bonds without repeated and costly constitutional amendments.
- The TWDB published its 2012 State Water Plan.
- The 83rd Texas Legislature and voters approved House Bill (HB) 4 and HB 1025 authorizing a one-time, $2 billion investment from the Economic Stabilization Fund to the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIRFT). SWIFT was created to help fast-track state water plan projects by offering a unique and cost-effective financial assistance avenue specifically for them. The $2 billion appropriation will be leveraged with revenue bonds over the next 50 years to finance approximately $27 billion in water supply projects. Revenue bonds for the program are issued through SWIRFT. The legislation also created a special advisory committee to oversee the SWIFT and SWIRFT.
As part of the structural changes in HB 4, the governance of the TWDB was changed from a part-time, six-member Board to a full-time, three-member Board.
- The TWDB published the 2017 State Water Plan, which launched a new era in water planning by providing online data as an integral part of the plan. The combined information of the interactive website and the plan give Texans more in-depth information about water planning than ever before.
- The TWDB published the first State Flood Assessment, which provides an initial assessment of Texas' flood risks, an overview of roles and responsibilities, an estimate of flood mitigation costs, and a synopsis of stakeholder views on the future of flood planning.
- The 86th Texas Legislature greatly expanded the TWDB's role in flood planning and financing by authorizing the TWDB to administer a new a state and regional flood planning process with flood planning regions based on river basins. The first regional flood plans will be due in 2023, and the first state flood plan will be due September 1, 2024. The legislature also made a voter-approved one-time transfer of $793 million from the state's Economic Stabilization or "Rainy Day" Fund to create a new flood financial assistance program, the Flood Infrastructure Fund, to be administered by the TWDB. The program is designed to make the implementation of drainage and flood projects more affordable for Texas communities and to meet immediate needs for funding.
- The TWDB published the 2022 State Water Plan, which included for the first time a chapter dedicated to conservation.