TWDB funds bring clean drinking water to Texas communities October 2012
In Eagle Pass, three new elevated storage tanks and a 19-million-gallon-per-day water treatment plant bring poor quality raw water from the Rio Grande to current drinking water standards. As a result of $96 million in funding, 40,000 area residents have better quality water and more of it.
In Greenville, six solar-powered circulating machines aerate a reservoir, alleviating taste and odor problems that have plagued the city's drinking water for years. A $305,000 loan means 28,000 customers now have affordable, drinkable water.
These are just two projects financed through the Texas Water Development Board's (TWDB) Drinking Water State Revolving Fund - a program that provides loans at below-market interest rates for communities. Loan forgiveness is also offered to disadvantaged communities and as an incentive to encourage sustainable, green practices. Funding, which comes from federal appropriations matched with state dollars, can be used either to build new or upgrade existing water infrastructure or help communities provide safe, quality drinking water.
In State Fiscal Year 2013, the TWDB will allocate $81 million for these projects. Many communities have expressed interest in applying for these funds and are listed in the Intended Use Plan. The application period for those projects is still open. Loans will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds are allocated. Communities are encouraged to get applications in as soon as possible while funds are still available. For those communities not in the Intended Use Plan, TWDB will begin another cycle of soliciting project information from eligible entities in December.
The TWDB and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality use a point system to determine which projects take priority. Projects addressing public health concerns will rate higher. Also, this year, projects that move quickly into construction will receive higher priority as will projects containing "green" components (like the one in Greenville). Additionally, a pilot program has been initiated that allows small water systems with populations of 1,000 or fewer to receive up to 100% loan forgiveness for projects that address public health compliance, water quality, or water quantity issues.
For over a decade the TWDB has funded both large and small drinking water projects across the state and has proudly provided over $1 billion dollars in financial assistance. The TWDB, in partnership with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, also provides free financial, managerial, and technical assistance. Combined, this assistance means more Texans can have safe, high-quality, readily available drinking water.