Potential Priority State Water Plan Projects Priorities

“Information released today by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) on potential priority projects in the State Water Plan shows that Texas has a long way to go in devising a comprehensive approach to meeting our state’s future water needs in a cost-effective and environmentally sound way. If Texas is going to establish a fund to implement the state water plan – a goal we support – then Texas needs a blueprint for building a water future that makes better use of existing water resources through conservation and drought response and that reflects a more thorough prioritization process.”

“We recognize that TWDB developed a list of potential priority water projects based on specific assumptions provided by legislative offices requesting such a list and may not reflect the agency’s perspective. Moreover, the projects identified are those in the current state and regional water plans, which are undergoing revision. That revision should put a higher priority on meeting actual water needs and not unjustified water demands, should emphasize conservation over infrastructure, and should address environmental flow needs.”

“Infrastructure projects that are identified as truly needed in a revised state water plan should be prioritized for state financial assistance based on clear metrics. Priority consideration should go to water supply projects (1) designed to meet near-term needs that cannot reasonably be met through water efficiency measures. Prioritization criteria should reward projects (2) that are highly cost effective, (3) include measures to ensure the new water supply will be used efficiently, and (4) result in low environmental impact. There must be a firm commitment for (5) substantial funding from local and regional water supply interests and a demonstration that full funding from those interests is not feasible (absent extenuating circumstances). In the case of groundwater projects, assistance should only be provided to (6) projects clearly shown not to indirectly impair existing water supply sources, including spring flows or river flows.”

“The list of potential priority state water plan projects generated by TWDB does not take all of those critical factors into account. The final prioritization process needs to be based on principles that reflect a broader view of how best to manage both our water and money.”

Statement of Ken Kramer, Water Resources Chair, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, on TWDB’s List of “Potential Priority State Water Plan Projects”

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