About Texas Water Development Board

The Texas Water Development Board's (TWDB) mission is To provide leadership, information, education, and support for planning, financial assistance, and outreach for the conservation and responsible development of water for Texas.  Our mission is a vital part of Texas' overall vision and its mission and goals which relate to maintaining the viability of the state's natural resources, health and economic development.  To accomplish its goals of planning for the state's water resources and for providing affordable water and wastewater services, the TWDB provides water planning, data collection and dissemination, financial assistance and technical assistance services to the citizens of Texas.  The tremendous population growth that the state has and will continue to experience, and the continual threat of severe drought, only intensify the need for the TWDB to accomplish its goals in an effective and efficient manner.

General History of the Texas Water Development Board

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) was created in 1957. It currently

  • Provides loans to local governments for water supply projects; water quality projects including wastewater treatment, municipal solid waste management and nonpoint source pollution control; flood control projects; agricultural water conservation projects; and groundwater district creation expenses
  • Provides grants and loans for the water and wastewater needs of the state's economically distressed areas
  • Provides agricultural water conservation funding and water-related research and planning grants
  • Supports regions in developing their regional water plans that will be incorporated into a statewide water plan for the orderly development, management and conservation of the state's water resources by studying Texas' surface and groundwater resources
  • Collects data and conducts studies concerning the fresh-water needs of the state's bays and estuaries
  • Administers the Texas Water Bank, which facilitates the transfer, sale or lease of water and water rights throughout the state, and administers the Texas Water Trust, where water rights are held for environmental flow maintenance purposes
  • Maintains a centralized data bank of information on the state's natural resources called the Texas Natural Resources Information System and manages the Strategic Mapping Program, a Texas-based, public and private sector cost-sharing program to develop consistent, large-scale computerized base maps describing basic geographic features of Texas.

TWDB financial assistance programs are funded through state-backed bonds, a combination of state bond proceeds and federal grant funds, or limited appropriated funds.  Since 1957, the Legislature and voters approved constitutional amendments authorizing the TWDB to issue up to $10.93 billion in Texas Water Development Bonds.  To date, the TWDB has sold nearly $3.95 billion of these bonds to finance the construction of water- and wastewater-related projects.

In 1987, the TWDB added the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) to its portfolio of financial assistance programs.  Low-interest loans from the CWSRF finance costs associated with the planning, design, construction, expansion or improvement of wastewater treatment facilities, wastewater recycling and reuse facilities, collection systems, stormwater pollution control projects and nonpoint source pollution control projects.  Funded in part by federal grant money, the CWSRF provides loans at interest rates lower than the market can offer to any eligible applicant.  The CWSRF offers 20-year loans using either a traditional long-term, fixed-rate or a short-term, variable-rate construction period loan that converts to a long-term, fixed-rate loan on project completion.

With either option, the borrower will receive a net long-term interest rate that is effectively 0.7 percent below the rate the borrower would receive on the open market at the time of closing.  This 0.7 percent interest rate reduction equates to a savings of approximately $100,000 per $1 million borrowed during the life of a loan.

The TWDB also administers the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF).  Through the DWSRF, the TWDB will make low-interest loans for financing public drinking water systems that facilitate compliance with primary and secondary drinking water regulations or otherwise significantly further the health protection objectives of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), as amended in 1996.

Loans from the DWSRF finance all costs associated with the planning, design and construction of projects to upgrade or replace water supply infrastructure, to correct exceedances of SDWA health standards, to consolidate water supplies and to purchase capacity in water system.  Funded in part by federal grant money, the DWSRF provides loans at interest rates lower than the market can offer to any eligible applicant.  Initially, the DWSRF offers 20-year loans with a net long-term interest rate that is effectively 1.2 percent below the rate the borrower would receive on the open market at the time of closing.  This 1.2 percent interest rate reduction equates to a savings of approximately $165,000 per $1 million borrowed during the life of a loan.

Using the pre-design funding option, eligible loan recipients can pay for completing detailed planning and environmental studies with loan funds issued at closing.  Funds for design, preparation of plans and specifications, and construction of the project are placed in escrow until needed. The interest rate is locked in at closing.

A three-member Board appointed by the Governor meets monthly in Austin.  The Board considers loan applications from eligible applicants, awards grants for water-related research and planning, and conducts other TWDB business, such as approving the State Water Plan.

TWDB Timeline

The Texas Water Development Board’s history reaches back into the early part of the twentieth century and tracks the climate and culture of the state.  Listed below are a few significant events in the evolution of the agency.

  • 1904

    A constitutional amendment was adopted authorizing the first public development of water resources.

  • 1913

    The 33rd Texas Legislature created the Board of Water Engineers to regulate appropriations of water.

  • 1954-1956

    Texas suffered the most severe drought in the state's history.

  • 1957

    The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) was created by legislative act and constitutional amendment. The constitutional amendment, approved by Texas voters, authorized the TWDB to issue $200 million in State of Texas General Obligation Water Development Bonds for the conservation and development of Texas' water resources through loans to political subdivisions.

  • 1962

    The Board of Water Engineers was reorganized, renamed the Texas Water Commission, and given specific responsibilities for water planning (57th Texas Legislature).

  • 1965

    The Texas Legislature restructured the state water agencies, transferred water resource planning functions to the TWDB and renamed the Texas Water Commission to the Texas Water Rights Commission (TWRC).

  • 1972

    The Texas Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS) was created, succeeding the Texas Water-Oriented Data Bank, and incorporating a centralized repository and clearinghouse of maps, census information and water-related information.

  • 1977

    The three water agencies existing at the time, the Texas Water Development Board, the Texas Water Rights Commission and the Water Quality Board, were combined by the Texas Legislature, creating the Texas Department of Water Resources (TDWR). This new single agency was responsible for developing Texas' water resources, maintaining the quality of water and assuring equitable distribution of water rights.

  • 1985

    Sunset Legislation reorganized the Texas Department of Water Resources, splitting the agency into two separate agencies, the Texas Water Commission and the Texas Water Development Board (current agency). The TWDB was made responsible for long-range planning and water project financing.

  • 1989

    The 71st Texas Legislature and voters of the state passed comprehensive legislation and constitutional amendments establishing the Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP) to be administered by the TWDB.

  • 1997

    The 1997 State Water Plan was adopted as a consensus effort by the TWDB, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.