The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is now receiving public comments on the Draft 2022 State Water Plan.
Updated and adopted every five years, the state water plan serves as a roadmap for addressing the water needs of our state and ensures that Texas will have adequate water supplies during times of drought in the next 50 years.
“To secure its future water supply, Texas utilizes a unique strategy integrating science, planning, and financing—and the state water plan is the cornerstone of that strategy,” said TWDB Chairman Peter Lake.
The public comment period is open until 5:00 p.m. on May 26. Written comments can be submitted to Melinda Smith, Water Supply Planning Division, TWDB, P.O. Box 13231, Austin, Texas 78711-3231 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Board will receive public comment on the Draft 2022 State Water Plan at a hearing on May 24 at 1:00 p.m. The hearing will be held in Austin at the Stephen F. Austin Building, 1700 North Congress Avenue, Room 170, and via GoToWebinar. The draft plan and additional information about the hearing are posted on the TWDB website.
The Draft 2022 State Water Plan is the eleventh state water plan and is based on 16 regional water plans that set forth thousands of specific, actionable strategies that address water supply needs across the state.
“With a projected 73 percent population increase over the next 50 years, it is more important than ever that Texas is prepared to meet the state’s growing water demands,” said TWDB Board Member Kathleen Jackson.
The Draft 2022 State Water Plan identifies approximately 5,800 strategies that Texas communities can use to meet their water needs over the next 50 years. The plan comes with a total capital cost of $80 billion.
If these strategies are not implemented, Texas could face a 6.9-million-acre-foot water shortage and economic losses of approximately $153 billion in 2070 in the event of a drought of record.
Among the water management strategies is conservation. The new state water plan has a greater emphasis on conservation, and for the first time, the plan contains a chapter exclusively dedicated to it.
The chapter includes agency initiatives and new legislative requirements in the planning process regarding setting conservation goals.
“Conservation remains the most frequently recommended strategy by regional water planning groups and makes up almost 30 percent of strategy supply volumes in 2070,” said TWDB Board Member Brooke Paup.
To help communities implement strategies, the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) is a dedicated financial assistance program for state water plan projects.
The SWIFT program helps communities develop and optimize water supplies at cost-effective rates. Since establishing SWIFT in 2015, the TWDB has committed almost $9 billion dollars of financing to implement more than 50 state water plan projects.
As part of the state water plan adoption process, there will also be an update to the online, interactive state water plan that provides comprehensive information through customized views of planning data at the local, regional, and statewide levels.
Following the public comment period, the final 2022 State Water Plan will be presented to the TWDB’s governing Board for adoption later this summer and is due to the governor, lieutenant governor, and the Texas Legislature in January 2022.