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. 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.
The TWDB’s main responsibilities are threefold: collecting and disseminating water-related data; assisting with regional water supply and flood planning that contributes to preparing the state water plan and state flood plan; and administering cost-effective financial programs for constructing water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.
Since 1957, the TWDB has been charged with addressing the state’s water needs. The TWDB works to ensure Texans have access to sufficient, clean, and affordable water supplies that foster a healthy economy and environment.
- 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 to ensure sufficient supplies during future droughts of record;
- 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 financing and/or grants to local governments for water supply projects; water quality projects including wastewater treatment and nonpoint source pollution control; flood control and mitigation projects; agricultural water conservation projects; economically distressed, rural, and small community water and wastewater projects; and expenses related to creating groundwater conservation districts;
- collects, interprets, and provides accurate and objective information on the state’s groundwater resources; monitors groundwater levels and quality in the state’s aquifers, conducts regional-scale aquifer modeling, characterizes the state’s brackish groundwater resources, houses and maintains water well records, and supports groundwater conservation districts and their management efforts;
- collects, analyzes, and disseminates data related to hydrometeorological and surface water conditions across the state and provides technical expertise to support water resource modeling, hydrographic surveys, surface water/groundwater interactions, environmental flows, drought and flood science, and regional water planning;
- facilitates the state’s conservation and alternative water supply planning and implementation efforts, including aquifer storage and recovery, brackish groundwater and seawater desalination, and reuse; conservation efforts include mitigating and auditing water loss, considering conservation in plans and reports, calculating agricultural water use in the state, and supporting the Water Conservation Advisory Council and rainwater harvesting;
- advances flood resiliency through improved public awareness, scientific data, and financial and technical assistance; analyzes and disseminates flood risk data to support decision making, facilitates proactive floodplain management through education and access to resources, and assists with implementation of state and federally funded mapping, outreach, and mitigation projects focused on identifying and reducing long-term flood risk to life and property;
- 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; StratMap is a Texas-based, public- and private-sector, cost-sharing program to develop consistent, large-scale digital base maps describing surface water, elevation, transportation, aerial photography, and other information.
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.