Monthly Featured Story - TWDB-Funded Projects | Texas Water Development Board

TWDB-Funded Projects December 2011

The Texas Water Development Board has been providing low-cost financial assistance for water-related infrastructure projects since 1957. Since 2000 alone, the TWDB has made 1,384 financial commitments for a total of $4.97 billion throughout the entire state. The projects range greatly in cost and scope, but all have a positive impact on the communities they benefit. A few examples of successful TWDB-funded projects include the City of Houston's sewer rehabilitation project, the Potter County Well Field and the City of Eagle Pass' award-winning water and wastewater projects.

The City of Houston manages over 5,300 miles of sewer pipelines. The City of Houston through its capital improvement program implements an annual sewer pipe rehabilitation program. The City of Houston has borrowed over $1.46 billion in Clean Water loans from the TWDB since 1998. Most recently, the TWDB committed $58.2 million to fix approximately 90 miles of sewer lines within the city.

"The city has had great success with the use of State Revolving Funds (SRF) in its sanitary pipe renewal program," Jason Iken, senior assistant director of the City of Houston's wastewater operations branch, said. "The help and support of the TWDB in the SRF program has been instrumental in getting the critical infrastructure renewed. The job would have been much more difficult to complete without this important funding source."

On the other side of the state, the City of Amarillo is facing a different challenge: a water supply deficit due to declining water levels in Lake Meredith caused by the continued drought. To meet its water supply demands, the City of Amarillo secured $86.3 million in financing from the TWDB to develop the Potter County Well Field, which will produce 20 million gallons of groundwater per day. The project was the largest groundwater development project in the western United States during 2010. It consists of the acquisition of water rights and construction of 18 to 30 water wells, 20 miles of collection lines, a pump station, and 18 miles of transmission lines to transport the groundwater to the City of Amarillo. The project's design recently won the National Ground Water Association's 2011 Outstanding Ground Water Project Award for Groundwater Supply. This prestigious national award recognizes the excellent design of this project to optimize well site selection, minimize local drawdown impacts and balance the pumping demands of the well fields.

According to Amarillo City Manager Jarrett Atkinson,

Working with the TWDB has been a tremendous help to the city in addressing the loss of Lake Meredith."

In southwest Texas, the City of Eagle Pass received financial assistance to address both water supply and wastewater infrastructure needs. The City received $96 million in funding from the TWDB's Economically Distressed Areas Program, Colonia Wastewater Treatment Assistance Program, Clean Water State Revolving Fund, Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the Water Development Fund, and also received funds from the North American Development Bank. The project allowed the City of Eagle Pass to become a regional water provider, serving about 97% of the residents of Maverick County.

The water project included three new elevated storage tanks and construction of a 19 million-gallon-per-day water treatment plant that brings the poor-quality raw water from the Rio Grande to current drinking water standards. It also included the purchase of a troubled water supply corporation along with the necessary infrastructure improvements to upgrade the quality and quantity of drinking water provided to portions of the Rosita Valley area and the Kickapoo Indian Nation south of the City of Eagle Pass.

The wastewater project included the rehabilitation and expansion of the City of Eagle Pass' sewer system and construction of a two million-gallon-per day wastewater treatment plant and sewage collection system to provide first-time wastewater service to colonia communities in the county. A three million-gallon-per-day water reuse system and reuse pipeline system were also constructed to save water used in municipal irrigation.

"These projects have impacted Eagle Pass in such a huge way. The people have better services and better water," Jorge Barrera, general manager of the City of Eagle Pass Water Works System said. "The people in the colonias now have cleaner, more potable water, too."

The projects improved the area so much that in 2008 they were recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA awarded the City of Eagle Pass the Performance and Innovation in the SRF Creating Environmental Success (PISCES) Award, which recognizes projects that are innovative and effective at advancing EPA's goal of water quality protection through the State Revolving Fund programs. The Eagle Pass project demonstrated innovation in financing, creative use of partnerships and efficient use of water resources. With this project, the City of Eagle Pass has been able to establish financial integrity and affordability through the coordination of state and federal grant and loan programs to achieve regional utility system improvements to meet the water quality and health standards of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

To find out more about how the TWDB can help your community, visit our financial assistance web page.