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TWDB adopts SWIFT rules for funding water projects

Special to the Courier

At a Board meeting held Nov. 6 in Austin, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) adopted the final rules for the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT). The application process for SWIFT funding is now officially open.
"Today is a historic day for the citizens of Texas and for the future of our state's water supplies," said TWDB Chairman Carlos Rubinstein. "SWIFT will allow the TWDB to provide financial assistance to important water projects around the state that will provide additional water supplies to urban and rural citizens alike. The projects will be diverse, from conserving and maintaining a current water supply, to innovative technology that taps into new sources of water. Each project funded by SWIFT will take us one step closer to being drought-resilient."
Texas voters approved the constitutional amendment that created SWIFT in November 2013. Introduced by the Texas Legislature in 2013, SWIFT enabled the one-time investment of $2 billion from the state's Rainy Day Fund for low-cost loans for water projects in Texas.
For the past year, the Board has been traveling the state holding work sessions and meetings with interested stakeholders on how best to draft the rules for prioritizing projects for SWIFT funding.
"It is our hope that the rules adopted today reflect the diverse needs and interests of the people of Texas," said TWDB Board member Bech Bruun. "The Board realized early on there wasn't a one-step approach for developing these rules."
Entities interested in applying for SWIFT will need to submit an abridged application to the TWDB by Feb. 3, 2015. The abridged application will provide information the TWDB needs to complete prioritization of projects. The projects will then be ranked according to SWIFT prioritization rules approved today. Projects that receive priority for funding will need to submit a full application, which will include an environmental, engineering, financial, and legal review.
The Bandera County River Authority is working on proposals for several projects, including the development of rules for Individual Aquifer Storage and Recovery, and a project aimed at drilling monitor wells and having storage tanks installed at various sites around the county to provide emergency water sources.
The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning and preparing the state water plan for the development of the state's water resources. The TWDB administers cost-effective financial assistance programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.