Texas approves more than $27.7 million for flood mitigation

AUSTIN – The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) May 17 authorized $27,743,911 in flood mitigation assistance grants funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and will be used to mitigate flood damages and prevent future losses, the agency said in a news release. Thirteen applications were approved by FEMA for this assistance.

The TWDB administers FEMA’s Flood Mitigation Assistance grant program for Texas. FEMA annually accepts applications for these grants.

Among the projects receiving funds was $515,500 for acquisition projects for the City of Fort Worth.

In other recent actions involving the North Texas area, the board approved:

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– $1,235,000 to the Greater Texoma Utility Authority on behalf of the City of Paradise (Wise County) for water system improvements on May 23.

– $3,205,000 to the City of Kemp (Kaufman County) for water system improvements on March 21.

¬– $17,030,000 to the City of Stephenville (Erath County) for wastewater system improvements on March 21.

¬ $300,000 to the Barton Water Supply Corporation (Erath and Palo Pinto counties) for water system improvements on March 21.

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¬– $21,032,600 to the City of Cisco (Eastland County) for water and wastewater system improvements on March 21.

FLOOD PROTECTION GRANTS

$1.8 million for flood protection available

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) announced May 14 that it has posted a request for applications (RFA) for $1.8 million in grants for flood protection planning, flood early warning systems and flood response strategies. The RFA is intended to provide financial assistance to political subdivisions to implement and/or take corrective measures to reduce the loss of life and property from flood events.

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The board said in a news release that due to the significant and deadly floods of 2015 and 2016 and Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the TWDB is placing a high priority on projects with the ability to protect the health, public safety and economic prosperity of Texans residing in declared disaster areas dating from May 2015 to September 2017. This priority includes areas from the seven federally declared disasters, as well as state declared disasters.

Applications will be accepted until 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, 2018. The TWDB anticipates announcing the recipients of the grant funding in September 2018.

All political subdivisions in Texas with the authority to plan for and implement projects related to flood protection are eligible to apply. The TWDB will review applications and award the grants based on criteria outlined in the RFA, the news release said.

SWIFT PROGRAM SAVINGS

SWIFT program savings for Texas communities exceed $525 million

The Texas Water Development Board said in a May 2 news release that it projects savings of more than $120 million from the spring bond issuance for the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) program.

“With each bond issuance for the SWIFT program, the TWDB continues to save money for Texas communities,” TWDB Board Chairman Peter Lake said in the news release. “With a combined savings of more than $525 million for water projects funded through the SWIFT program since its inception, utilities are able to pass important savings onto their rate payers.”

The TWDB sold bonds April 24 to provide approximately $906.9 million in state water plan project funding. The proceeds of the bond sale will be used to finance the construction of the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir in North Texas and the expansion of the Northeast Water Purification Plant in Houston.

The agency said it was the first time the SWIFT program has had a spring bond issuance.

Because Lower Bois d’Arc is the first major reservoir to be built in Texas in several decades, a spring issuance was critical to meeting project deadlines, the release said.

“The Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir and the Northeast Water Purification Plant will serve millions of Texans and ensure long-term water supplies are in place for future generations,” said TWDB Board member Kathleen Jackson. “Large-scale projects like these are critical for ensuring our long-term water supplies.”

The state water planning effort in Texas births the water supply projects that local communities identify for their areas. Only projects in the state water plan are eligible for SWIFT funding.

SWIFT was established by the Texas Legislature and voters in 2013 to fund projects in the state water plan.