A sustainable water plan for Texas

On November 5th, Texas voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 6, “Create A State Water Implementation Fund,” with 73.34% of voters in favor of the initiative and 26.65% against it. Prop 6 will amend the state constitution and enable the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to provide loans for projects included in the state water plan—primarily water treatment and distribution, wastewater treatment and collection, flood control and water management efforts. In accordance with Prop 6, the state will make a one-time, $2 billion transfer from the Texas Economic Stabilization Fund to two new funds to help support these water infrastructure projects: the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIRFT).

Upon the passage of the initiative, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus said, “This vote proves that the people of Texas will support leaders who are willing to make difficult decisions. It would have been easy to ignore this crisis and allow our State Water Plan to continue collecting dust on a shelf. Instead, a bipartisan group of legislators put forth a responsible plan that the people of Texas have now endorsed. As we address other issues, I will continue to encourage Members to work in a collaborative way to find thoughtful, pragmatic solutions to the challenges that come with our economic success.”

Sharlene Leurig, Water Program Director for Ceres, explains the components of this legislation, the state’s financing plans and the impact of the legislation on Texas’s water future in a three-part blog series for the Texas Center for Policy Studies. Part I, “Proposition 6 and the Mechanics of Funding State Water Plan Projects,” discusses the way that funds will be made available by the TWDB and identifies that factors that Texas should take into account when approving projects. Part II, “Relationship between Prop 6 and State Water Plan,” emphasizes the importance of ranking the projects suggested by the 2012 State Water Plan. The final installment, “Financing Water Conservation and Efficiency,” considers how Texas can prioritize water conservation initiatives.