State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT)*
See below for the December 17, 2020 and January 5, 2021 SWIFT and Abridged Application Webinar recordings
The webinars include a program overview and timeline as well as a walk-through of the abridged application process
Affordable, ongoing financial assistance for projects in the state water plan. Passed by the Legislature and approved by Texas voters through a constitutional amendment, the SWIFT program helps communities develop and optimize water supplies at cost-effective rates. The program provides low-interest loans, extended repayment terms, deferral of loan repayments, and incremental repurchase terms for projects with state ownership aspects.
Jump to application instructions.
1. Who can borrow?
For the 2021 funding cycle, any political subdivision or nonprofit water supply corporation with a project included in the approved 2021 Regional Water Plan for their region is eligible. To qualify for a funding commitment the project will also need to appear as a recommended strategy in the 2022 State Water Plan, which is scheduled for adoption before SWIFT commitments are issued.
Political subdivisions include:
- River authorities
- Special law districts
- Water improvement districts
- Water control and improvement districts
- Irrigation districts
- Groundwater conservation districts
2. What types of projects are eligible for funding?
Eligible SWIFT projects are recommended water management strategy projects with an associated nonzero capital cost in the most recently adopted state water plan at the time abridged applications are due to TWDB for consideration. Alternative water management strategy projects are not eligible unless the regional and state water plans are amended to include them as recommended projects prior to the time abridged applications are due to TWDB for consideration. For the 2021 funding cycle, initial project eligibility will be established based on the 2021 Regional Water Plans. Adoption of the 2022 State Water Plan is anticipated to take place during the funding cycle, so the water management strategy associated with the project must also appear in the state plan to qualify for a funding commitment.
Eligible projects include conservation and reuse, desalinating groundwater and seawater, building new pipelines, developing reservoirs and wells fields, purchasing water rights, as well as numerous other strategies. Only the project components specified in the plan are eligible for SWIFT financing. For example, if the project is listed in the plan as "construction of a well field," but does not list a pipeline for delivery of that water, the pipeline would not be eligible for the SWIFT program.
Recognizing the benefit of conservation and the needs of rural Texas, the legislation creating the program encourages SWIFT funding of projects for rural communities, agricultural water conservation, water conservation, and reuse projects.
3. What type of financing is available?
The SWIFT program offers a variety of loans and terms to support the diversity of strategies recommended through the planning process. Grants are not available in the program. Funds can be used for planning, design, acquisition, and construction costs. In order to qualify for multi-year commitments, a borrower must close on a portion of the commitment in the first year.
The types of SWIFT assistance are listed below. Entities may use any or all of these different structures available to finance their projects.
Low-interest Obligations — Long-term, fixed-rate loans offered at below-market rate. Maturities range from 20 to 30 years. Interest rates are based on the TWDB's cost of funds, which reflects the program's AAA credit rating. This interest rate is further reduced by a subsidy established by the Board for each funding cycle.
The 2021 funding cycle subsidy percentages are listed below. Normally, the subsidy percentages for the new funding cycle are determined at the time of prioritization. However, pursuant to Resolution 20-055 passed in June 2020, the Board has adopted the interest rate subsidization percentages listed below at the start of the funding cycle.
Low-Interest Obligations (effective for the 2021 funding cycle):
- 20 Year Tax-Exempt: up to 25%
- 20 Year Taxable: up to 20%
- 21-25 Year Tax-Exempt: up to 18%
- 21-25 Year Taxable: up to 14%
- 26-30 Year Tax-Exempt: up to 14%
- 26-30 Year Taxable: up to 10%
Rural/Agriculture Low-Interest Obligations:
- 20 Year Tax-Exempt: up to 50%
- 20 Year Taxable: up to 40%
- 21-25 Year Tax-Exempt: up to 34%
- 21-25 Year Taxable: up to 27%
- 26-30 Year Tax-Exempt: up to 27%
- 26-30 Year Taxable: up to 22%
In order to qualify for the rural/agricultural low-interest obligations, entities must do one of the following:
- Propose a project that provides agricultural water conservation or irrigation benefits; or
- Serve a population of 10,000 or less, and fall entirely outside of urbanized areas as defined by the most recent available U.S. Census.
Deferred Obligations — Used to fund developmental costs (planning and design). Maturities range from 20 to 30 years. Principal and interest is deferred up to eight years from the delivery date, or until the end of construction, whichever is sooner. The deferred payment option is targeted at projects that have long development periods in which the applicant must spend considerable time and money before actual delivery of water and the accompanying revenue stream materializes.
Interest rates are based on the TWDB's cost of funds, which reflects the program's AAA credit rating. No additional interest rate subsidy is applied.
Board Participation — Long-term, structured, fixed-rate financing through a temporary TWDB ownership interest in a regional facility that is being "right-sized" to accommodate future demand. The TWDB's interest is in the excess capacity portion of the project and limited to 80% of total project costs. The local sponsor repurchases the TWDB's ownership interest under a repayment schedule that allows for the structured deferral of both principal and interest. Financing terms vary but are generally 34 years.
Interest rates are based on the TWDB's cost of funds, which reflects the program's AAA credit rating. No additional interest rate subsidy is applied.
Funding through the Board Participation option requires specific determinations be made by the Board, including that: the estimated cost of the facility exceeds current financing capabilities of the area; and the public interest will be served by the Board's participation in the project.
Multi-Year Commitments — Applicants may propose a multi-year closing schedule based on a single SWIFT program funding commitment. The multi-year commitment option provides entities additional flexibility to support project needs spanning up to 5 years, including the first year closing, and may be requested in combination with any of the financing structures listed above. Once committed, subsidies are locked in through the end of the following State Fiscal Year only.
Generally, a SWIFT loan will be amortized over 20 or 30 years with level debt service and follow the same guidelines as other TWDB financial assistance programs. Principal payments are required to start within 18 months of the delivery date, and capitalized interest and debt service reserve funding is available. Entities that require specific loan structuring are asked to submit their needs for evaluation.
4. How much funding is available?
A strategic planning tool was developed to analyze funding scenarios to achieve the legislative directive of financing $27 billion in state water plan projects over the next 50 years. This tool will be used in analyzing the capacity of the program for each funding cycle. The actual amounts and types of funds are expected to fluctuate between years to obtain this goal.
The Board determines the amount of capacity at the time of prioritization.
5. What are the conditions of financial assistance?
The TWDB anticipates selling bonds for each round of funding through the SWIFT program. Therefore, borrowers are required to execute Financing Agreements, similar to those used in other TWDB financial assistance programs. Due to the complexities and timing involved in the issuance of the TWDB bonds, borrowers will need to close their individual loans shortly after the TWDB's bond closing.
6. What is the prioritization process for SWIFT applications?
Project prioritization for recommended water management strategy projects with an associated nonzero capital cost in the most recently approved regional water plans at the time abridged applications are due to TWDB for consideration will occur at two levels: regional and state.
- At the regional level, the 16 regional water planning groups prioritize projects in their regional water plans every five-year cycle using uniform standards developed by a stakeholder committee. The final product is the list of the prioritizations of recommended water management strategy projects
At the state level, the TWDB will solicit SWIFT abridged applications for financial assistance up to twice a year. The abridged applications will then be prioritized following the prioritization system. The prioritization system is described in full detail in 31 TAC §363.1303 and criteria in §363.1304.
A summary of the prioritization criteria is listed below:
- The population served by the project when fully operational
- Whether the project serves a diverse urban and rural population
- Whether the project provides regionalization
- The percentage of water supply needs met by the project within the first decade
- Local contributions to the project
- Financial capacity of the applicant to repay
- Whether the project addresses an emergency need
- Whether the project is ready to proceed with implementation or construction
- Demonstration or projected effect of the project on water conservation, including preventing water loss
- The priority ranking assigned to the project by the applicable Regional Water Planning Group
If two or more projects receive the same priority ranking, priority will be given to the project with the highest water conservation score. If a tie still remains, priority will be given to the project with the highest emergency need score.
The Board then considers the prioritization, establishes the funds available by category, the structure of financing, and the terms of any subsidy.
Invitations to submit full financial assistance applications are extended to those projects within the limits of available funding. Full applications are due within 30 days after the Board meeting at which the applicant's project received priority for funding. Full applications include information needed to complete the standard environmental, engineering, financial, and legal reviews by the TWDB staff. Once the technical review process has been completed, the project is presented to the Board for funding consideration.
7. What if an entity's project is not included in the regional water plans or the state water plan?
An entity has the option to request an amendment to the regional water plan to include its project, which is the first step for a potential amendment to the state water plan. A regional water plan may be amended to add strategies, projects, or capital costs that are reviewed and approved by the Regional Water Planning Group. The state water plan may be amended to reflect additions made to the regional plans. If an entity's recommended water management strategy project is amended to add a capital cost, the state water plan must be amended to reflect this change prior to Board commitment on associated SWIFT funding. The Amendment Process Flowchart outlines the amendment process for both the regional and state water plans. Please contact your Regional Team for more information.
8. Where can I get more information?
In order to provide you with a single point of contact at the TWDB, our project implementation staff is organized into six regional project implementation teams. Each team is led by a manager that serves as the primary point of contact for both our existing and future customers. For assistance with the application or any questions related to your project, please look up contact information for your Regional Team.
How to Apply
The SWIFT Abridged Application collects the information necessary for TWDB staff to review and rank projects based on the prioritization system described in 31 TAC §363.1303 and criteria listed in 31 TAC §363.1304. Entities that rank within funding availability will be invited to submit full applications for financial assistance.
Two options are available for submitting an abridged application:
- Online Loan Application System (select "Start New PIF" and choose SWIFT under "Program Type")
- View the full Online Loan Application System instructions
- Submittal is provided as an option once all fields are complete. The Abridged Application must be submitted before midnight on the due date.
- Abridged Application (Word document)
- View the full Abridged Application instructions
Email the completed Abridged Application and applicable attachments to SWIFT@twdb.texas.gov. Or send two (2) hard copy Abridged Applications and applicable attachments to the address below. Applications must be received by TWDB no later than midnight on the due date.
Texas Water Development Board
ATTN: SWIFT Abridged Application
P.O. Box 13231
Austin, Texas 78711-3231
Entities that receive multi-year funding commitments will be required each year to verify that year's requested amount. To verify the annual request amount associated with a prior multi-year commitment, contact TWDB staff at SWIFT@twdb.texas.gov for further instructions.
Please feel free to contact Tom Entsminger at (512) 936-0802 or send an email to SWIFT@twdb.texas.gov for assistance if you encounter any problems while completing the abridged application.
- Eligible projects must be recommended water management strategy projects with an associated nonzero capital cost in the 2021 regional water plans. For your convenience, a list of recommended water management strategy projects is available.
- An Infrastructure Financing Report (IFR) Survey response must be on file relating to the project. For your convenience, a list of IFR respondents is available. If your project is listed with no response, please submit an IFR Survey along with your Abridged Application.
- Water User Survey response for the previous 3 years must be on file for the applicant (31 TAC §358.5). Applicants that are wholesalers only are exempt from this requirement. Your survey response status is available here. To complete missing water use surveys, please visit the Water Use Survey.
- A water conservation and drought contingency plan is required for financial assistance greater than $500,000 as mandated by 31 TAC §363, Subchapter A.
- Executed Financing Agreement
- Private Placement Memorandum
- Master Agreement for Board Participation funding
- Historically Underutilized Business reporting
- Reservoir funding must be segmented or phased; permitting is required prior to a construction commitment
- Board Participation is limited to funding of excess capacity portion and up to 80% of total project costs
- Board Participation requires specific determinations (31 TAC §363.1308(c)) and an executed master agreement
- State level environmental review
- Review of legislative requirements regarding water loss threshold limits
December 3, 2020
- Abridged Application period begins
Prior to February 2020
- Board approves 2021 Regional Water Plans
February 1, 2021
- Abridged Applications due
Spring 2021 Board Action
- Consider prioritization of Abridged Applications
- Identify amount of funds available by category
- Invitations extended to submit complete applications for financial assistance
- Spring/Summer 2021
- Establish financing structure and subsidy terms
Prior to Commitment
- Board adopts 2022 State Water Plan
- Complete applications due
- Projects recommended to Board for commitment
- TWDB bond sale and borrower closings
SWIFT and Abridged Application Webinars
The webinar includes a program overview and timeline as well as a walk-through of the abridged application process.
December 17, 2020 SWIFT and Abridged Application Webinar recording
January 5, 2021 SWIFT and Abridged Application Webinar recording
* The SWIFT program includes two funds, the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIRFT). Bonds for the program are issued through the SWIRFT.
Turns Planning into Projects