Needs Surveys

Clean Watershed Needs Survey

The Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS) was mandated by the Clean Water Act (Act), passed by Congress and signed into law in 1972. The survey measures the need for public entities to build capital infrastructure to meet the water quality and public health goals of the Act. Infrastructure includes wastewater collection systems, conveyance lines, lift stations, treatment plants, effluent disposal systems, solids processing, storm water pollution control facilities, and water recycling and reuse systems.

The survey is conducted by EPA Headquarters in four year intervals with participation by states and EPA's ten regions. Estimated needs are tabulated by state and reported to Congress. Congress has used CWNS results to develop or amend the Clean Water SRF allotment formula - used to distribute federal State Revolving Fund (SRF) program capitalization grant funds among all the states - each time the Act has been reauthorized, in 1977, 1981, and 1987. There have been numerous unsuccessful attempts to change the allotment formula since.

The CWNS allows a census of publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) - usually referred to as wastewater "facilities" - as defined by Section 212 of the Act. There are more than 2,900 existing or potentially needed facilities in Texas. TWDB staff members collect information and documentation about all of them, with special emphasis on larger utilities. The most recent CWNS was completed in December of 2012. Preparations for the next CWNS will begin sometime in 2014.

Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey

Every four years, the state of Texas participates in the Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey (DWINS).  The survey, mandated by the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996, collects information from Texas water systems about new infrastructure needed to provide ample quality drinking water to their customers over a 20 year period.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its ten multi-state regions assist in tabulating the needs and reporting the estimates to Congress.  The results of this survey determine the amount of funding Texas receives for the federal Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for the following four years.

For the 2011 DWINS, the Texas Water Development Board utilized sample data from 144 medium (3,301 to 100,000 population) and large (over 100,000 population) systems.  The sample included roughly 60% of the state's retail water service population.  The sample in each state includes all large systems, a statistical sample of medium systems, and no small systems.  The estimated needs for small systems are based on a national sample and apportioned to the states according to the number of systems in each state.

For each survey, the agency partners with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to contact sampled systems and collect information.  Water systems are studied intensely to identify needed rehabilitation, replacement or improvement of specific assets.  The survey includes costs for wells, intakes, treatment plants, transmission lines, storage tanks, pumping facilities, meters, valves and distribution networks for Texas systems eligible to receive assistance from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.  Alternatively, the study does not include costs for future population growth, dams, reservoirs, agriculture, and fire suppression.

Of the 144 medium and large systems sampled, the agency submitted nearly 8,000 projects for inclusion in the survey.  The newly released "2011 Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey's Report to Congress" states that Texas' water infrastructure needs for the next twenty years have increased by $7 billion since the last survey completed in 2007 to an estimated $33 billion (see table below).  Texas has the second greatest water infrastructure need in the nation.

In 2013, Texas received $53,517,000 for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund which enables the agency to provide low interest loans and loan forgiveness to Texas water systems.

For more information, please view the EPA's Press Release and the 2011 Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey's Report to Congress.

2007 and 2011 DWINS Totals and Comparisons
Investment Categories 2007 2011 % Change $ Change % of Total Change
Transmission-Distribution $15,950,200,000 $22,181,600,000 39.07% $6,231,400,000 80.29%
Source $1,600,300,000 $1,353,300,000 -15.43% -$247,000,000 -3.18%
Treatment $5,785,200,000 $6,663,400,000 15.18% $878,200,000 11.32%
Storage $2,695,800,000 $3,266,500,000 21.17% $570,700,000 7.35%
Other (Meters, Service Lines, Backflow Prevention Devices/Assemblies, Hydrants, Valves, etc.) $99,200,000 $427,000,000 330.44% $327,800,000 4.22%
Total $26,130,700,000 $33,891,800,000 29.70% $7,761,100,000  
Ranking Among All U.S. States 3 2