Support for Texas water resource plan aiming to cope with 70% population rise

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The Texas Water Development Board has approved more than $759 million in financial assistance to support implementation of the 2017 state water plan. The plan, adopted in May, includes more than $62 billion in projects up to 2070 to help ensure resources are available for a population that is set to rise by around 70%.

The TWDB funding is the latest assistance to be provided under the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT). The funding will go to 15 projects across the state, including over $167 million to the City of Austin for reclaimed water system improvements and an advanced metering infrastructure project, and $150 million to the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board for land and water rights acquisition for a water supply project.

The state water plan includes around 2400 projects in some 5500 individual water management strategies. The state needs an additional 8.9 million acre-feet (11,000 million cubic metres) a year of water supplies to be able to cope with drought conditions in 2070, and would have an immediate need for an additional 4.8 million acre-feet a year if a repeat of the state’s worst drought occurred in 2020. The strategies identify a total of 8.5 million acre-feet a year by 2070 and 3.4 million acre-feet a year in 2020. They include 14% coming from water reuse by 2070, with direct potable water reuse accounting for 1%, other direct reuse 7.4%, and indirect reuse 7.6%. Around 45% of the additional supplies are to come from surface water resources, including around 13% from a major new reservoir.

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