Our Water: public input window for 2022 TWDB state water plan now open

Water

Warns of water shortage and economic losses in coming decades if strategies not implemented

SAN ANGELO, Texas – Now through May 26, Texas residents can provide online or mail-in feedback on the draft of the 2022 State Water Plan from the Texas Water Development Board. The plan aims to ensure the growing population of Texas has access to clean drinkable water between now and 2070.

“The State Water Plan is a document that our agency has to produce every five years, and provide to the legislature,” explained Temple McKinnon. McKinnon serves as Director of Water Supply Planning for TWDB. “So it is the basis for the state’s water policy development and it’s the result of five years of effort of 16 regional water planning groups across the state.”

“It is driven by science and data so it’s a very prescriptive process that we go through,” said TWDB Board Member Kathleen Jackson. “We look at population, we look at what kind of needs we would have during times of drought, and all of that kind of drives the water planning process.”

While the concentration of new reservoir projects planned are in East Texas, there are still many projects impacting West Texans. The Concho River Reclamation Project, Hickory Aquifer well expansion, and desalination plants will all benefit the Concho Valley. TWDB staff say the key to useful feedback, is going online and reading about the planned projects and water planning strategies.

Comments can be submitted in writing via P.O. Box 13231, Austin, Texas 78711-3231 or via email to public-comment@twdb.texas.gov. For questions regarding the Draft 2022 State Water Plan, please contact Temple McKinnon at Temple.McKinnon@twdb.texas.gov. The Texas Water Development Board will conduct a public hearing beginning at 1:00 p.m. on May 24, 2021 in room 170 of the Stephen F. Austin Building, 1700 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas and online via GoToWebinar.

Original Article from Press Release: According to a recent Texas Water Development Board press release, the public comment period for the Draft 2022 State Water Plan is now open. The Texas Water Development Board is taking public comments on the Draft 2022 State Water Plan until 5:00 p.m. on May 26, 2021. This article will be updated with TWDB staff interviews and other content.

The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional water and flood planning, and preparing the state water and flood plans. The TWDB also runs financial assistance programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control and agricultural water conservation projects.

The press release goes on to say, “to secure its future water supply, Texas utilizes a unique strategy integrating science, planning, and financing—and the state water plan is the cornerstone of that strategy.” This, from TWDB Chairman Peter Lake. “We could not gain such a comprehensive understanding of the state’s water supply needs and available solutions without the hard work and dedication of the hundreds of regional water planning group members, TWDB staff, and others who contribute their time and expertise to the process. We are proud to announce the publication of the Draft 2022 State Water Plan and look forward to receiving comments from the public.” The TWDB will publish notice in the Texas Register on April 23, 2021, of the Board’s intent to adopt the 2022 State Water Plan later in summer of 2021.

The Board will receive public comment on the Draft 2022 State Water Plan at a hearing to be held on May 24, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. The hearing will be held in Austin at the Stephen F. Austin Building, 1700 North Congress Avenue, Room 170, and via GoToWebinar. The draft plan and additional information about the hearing are posted on the TWDB website.

“With a projected 73 percent population increase over the next 50 years, it is more important than ever that Texas is prepared to meet the state’s growing water demands,” said TWDB Board Member Kathleen Jackson. “With a total capital cost of $80 billion, the Draft 2022 State Water Plan identifies approximately 5,800 strategies that Texas communities can use to meet their water needs over the next 50 years.”

If these strategies are not implemented, Texas could face a 6.9-million-acre-foot water shortage and economic losses of approximately $153 billion in 2070 in the event of a drought of record.
“Conservation remains the most frequently recommended strategy by regional water planning groups and makes up almost 30 percent of strategy supply volumes in 2070,” said TWDB Board Member Brooke Paup. “New to the state water plan is a chapter exclusively dedicated to this important strategy. This addition incorporates agency initiatives and new legislative requirements in the planning process regarding setting conservation goals.”

Stakeholders may also submit written comments to Melinda Smith, Water Supply Planning Division, TWDB, P.O. Box 13231, Austin, Texas 78711-3231 or via email to public-comment@twdb.texas.gov.
For questions regarding the Draft 2022 State Water Plan, please contact Temple McKinnon at Temple.McKinnon@twdb.texas.gov.

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