Application period for 2017 SWIFT funding cycle is now open

For immediate release.  Contact: Kimberly Leggett at 512-463-5129

AUSTIN – (November 30, 2016) – On December 1, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) will open the application period for the 2017 funding cycle of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) program.* Applications will be due by February 3, 2017.

“The first two cycles of funding through the SWIFT program were extremely successful, with the TWDB financing approximately $1.6 billion in state water plan projects,” said TWDB Board Chairman Bech Bruun. “In fact, our first SWIFT transaction was announced as the winner of the Bond Buyer's 2016 Southwest Region Deal of the Year in part because of the groundbreaking nature of the program. We are pleased to continue providing communities with this dedicated funding source.”

For the 2017 funding cycle, the TWDB anticipates being able to accommodate approximately $500 million in new applications. Projects must be listed in the 2017 State Water Plan to be eligible for SWIFT program financial assistance.

The TWDB is considering an important change for this cycle—the increase of subsidies offered for rural and agricultural projects. Preliminary projections indicate a subsidy level of up to 50 percent for loans.

“The regional planning groups have developed a diverse portfolio of water management strategies to meet their future water needs,” said TWDB Board member Kathleen Jackson. “In the first two cycles of SWIFT funding, we approved projects for transmission pipelines, canal linings, capacity expansions, seawater desalination planning, leak detection systems, water meter replacements, and reservoirs. The strategies vary, but the common goal is developing reliable and dependable water supplies for Texas.”

The Board discussed the SWIFT financing loan structure today. This year’s cycle will provide non-rural entities with interest subsidies that range from 16 to 35 percent depending upon the length of the loan and type of project.

“The SWIFT program has done a tremendous job incentivizing water providers to participate in the state water planning process. By planning for their future water needs and utilizing the SWIFT program, project sponsors saved an estimated $178 million in the first two cycles of the program,” said TWDB Board member Peter Lake. “We look forward to continuing to work with communities across the state as they develop water supply strategies to ensure adequate water resources for the future.”

The two-page preliminary applications are due February 3, 2017, and may be submitted via the TWDB’s online application or by paper copy. These applications provide information the TWDB needs to complete prioritization of the projects. Projects that receive priority for financial assistance will be invited to submit a full application, which will include a financial, legal, engineering, and environmental review. 

SWIFT was established by the Texas Legislature and voters in 2013 to fund projects in the state water plan. SWIFT was created through the transfer of a one-time, $2 billion appropriation from the state’s Rainy Day Fund. The $2 billion will be leveraged with revenue bonds over the next 50 years to finance approximately $27 billion in water supply projects.

For more details on how to apply for the SWIFT program, please visit the TWDB website.

*The SWIFT program includes two funds, the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIRFT). Revenue bonds for the program are issued through SWIRFT.

The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning and preparing the state water plan for the development of the state’s water resources. The TWDB administers cost-effective financial assistance programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.

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