Following the drought in the 1950s, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) was created by the Texas Legislature to develop water supplies and to prepare a plan that would meet the state’s future water needs. This board’s plan, aptly named the “State Water Plan,” is intended to address the needs of all water user groups in the state, including municipal, irrigation, manufacturing, livestock, mining, and steam-electric power, and to anticipate the changing water conditions and needs in Texas 50 years into the future. Today, the State Water Plan still serves as a guide to Texas water policy.
Regional water plans from 16 Regional Water Planning Groups (RWPGs) help develop the overall state plan. At the end of each regional water planning cycle, or every five years, the TWDB compiles information from the approved regional water plans to form the state plan. The draft is then presented to the TWDB’s governing board, the governor, lieutenant governor and Legislature.
With Texas again suffering from drought and with population growing rapidly, the planning process is as important as ever. Unfortunately, the 2012 State Water Plan does not live up to its potential to guide Texas to a sustainable water future. An analysis by the Texas Center for Policy Studies estimates that the plan overestimates water demand in the year 2060 by an incredible 1.1 trillion gallons of water per year. The plan also includes 5 projects – highlighted on this website - which would cause significant environmental damage to Texas rivers, forests and other sensitive natural areas, while making insufficient use of water efficiency and conservation. If built, these 5 projects would cost taxpayers billions of dollars for projects Texas likely doesn’t need.
How is Proposition 6 related to the 2012 State Water Plan?
In November 2013, Texas voters passed Proposition 6 to redirect $2 billion from the Texas “Rainy Day Fund” to help finance projects in the State Water Plan. The State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) will provide low-cost financing for projects in the state water plan.