What is the Issue?
The population in Texas is expected to increase 82 percent between the years of 2010 and 2060, growing from 25.4 million to 46.3 million people. Given these current trends, Texas will not have enough existing water supplies to adequately meet the demands of such a population. If no action is taken, by 2060, half of Texans will not have enough water during times of drought. Failing to address these needs could cost the state over one million jobs.
Collin County itself has already grown by 59 percent from 2000 to 2010 putting pressure on our existing supplies. With our population projected to grow by 96 percent by 2060, our available water supplies will also need to double. This will require an additional supply of about 100,000 acre-feet of water every decade to serve the increased demand.
What is Being Done?
The State Water Plan, developed by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), seeks to provide region-specific solutions to the growing water crisis in Texas. In 2013, the Texas Legislature passed HB 4 that restructured the TWDB and voters approved a constitutional amendment (Proposition 6) to provide additional funding to support new projects consistent with the Plan. Using this new authority, in 2014, the TWDB received $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund and created a revolving loan fund, or “infrastructure bank,” called the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT). SWIFT financing mechanisms are expected to provide $700 million annually in support of local water projects to address priority water needs identified in the State Water Plan.
The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) serves as the local authority providing water to most Collin County communities. The 2012 State Water Plan includes a number of proposed NTMWD projects that will be important to future water supplies for Collin County. These include the construction of two new reservoirs and infrastructure to increase the supply levels from existing sources. The local share of capital costs for these projects is estimated to be $5.3 billion.
The Collin County Business Alliance understands that the benefits of implementing our State Water Plan are clear: Ensuring that we have an adequate supply of clean, affordable water protects public health and the economy. We recognize water infrastructure is a critical linchpin to the vital functioning of our local community, and therefore fully supported the passage of Proposition 6 in 2013.
CCBA also lent its voice to successful efforts in 2012 to change federal law, called the Lacey Act, which would have blocked a vital source of water for Collin County because of the presence of zebra mussels in water pumped from Oklahoma to Texas. CCBA members wrote letters to the Texas congressional delegation urging passage of legislation that exempted our water district from the regulation, explaining the far-reaching effects of a water shortage on businesses in Collin County.
CCBA will continue working to identify opportunities to engage our local, state and federal leaders to provide the additional water supplies that will be needed as the population of North Texas grows. An adequate water supply is not only important to a community’s functioning, but also is absolutely required for Collin County businesses to thrive.
NTMWD “Meeting Future Supply Needs” - http://www.ntmwd.com/futureWaterPlans.html
NTMWD Water Supply Update - https://ntmwd.com/downloads/presentations/2015-03-16%20SAME.pdf
TWDB 2012 State Water Plan - http://www.twdb.texas.gov/waterplanning/swp/index.asp
TWDB SWIFT program- http://www.twdb.texas.gov/swift/index.asp
Region C Water Planning Group http://www.regioncwater.org/index.cfm
H2O4Texas - http://h2o4texas.org/h2o4texas-about-us/
After a successful campaign last year to back funding for Proposition 6, the CCBA Water Committee is continuing to monitor for water issues as the county continues its rapid growth. The focus continues to be on mobilizing support from the business community for large infrastructure projects that will secure a steady water supply to meet the upcoming growth. Most recently, the CCBA has teamed up with statewide advocacy group H204 to ensure implementation of the state water plan, and the CCBA was represented at a regional water conference this September in Fort Worth.
The CCBA Water Committee is also welcoming the new Executive Director of the North Texas Water Municipal District and the top leadership of the organization at a luncheon in October. The goal is for an open dialogue on the region’s infrastructure priorities and to discuss opportunities for support from the business community.