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. Click to view the most recent CWNS completed in December of 2012.

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.

The DWINS was due to be conducted in 2019 but was delayed until 2021 because of Covid-19. For the 2021 DWINS, the Texas Water Development Board utilized sample data from 116 medium (3,301 to 100,000 population) and large (over 100,000 population) systems. 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.

From the 116 medium and large systems sampled, the agency submitted 8,191 projects for inclusion in the survey. The newly released EPA's 7th Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey's Report to Congress states that Texas' water infrastructure needs for the next twenty years have increased by $16.1 billion since the last survey completed in 2015 to an estimated $61.2 billion (see table below). Texas has the second greatest water infrastructure need in the nation, increasing from 7.58% of the total need in the previous survey to 9.80% in the latest (2021) survey.

Based in part on the increase in the allocation percentage, Texas received $414,396,000 in 2023 for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which enables the agency to provide low interest loans and principal forgiveness to Texas water systems.

For more information, please view the EPA's 7th Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment website.

2015 and 2021 DWINS Totals and Comparisons

Investment Categories 2015 2021 % Change $ Change % of Total Change
Transmission-Distribution $30,485,100,000 $41,372,600,000 35.71% $10,887,500,000 67.62%
Source $1,545,400,000 $1,596,100,000 3.28% $50,700,000 0.31%
Treatment $8,309,300,000 $11,466,100,000 37.99% $3,156,800,000 19.61%
Storage $4,090,200,000 $4,828,600,000 18.05% $738,400,000 4.59%
Other (Meters, Service Lines, Backflow Prevention Devices/Assemblies, Hydrants, Valves, etc.) $721,300,000 $1,989,800,000 175.86% $1,268,500,000 7.88%
Total $45,151,300,000 $61,253,100,000 35.66% $16,101,800,000 100.00%
Ranking Among All U.S. States 2 2