Water Development Board Discusses Plans At GCTA Luncheon

Nearly 90 attendees and their guests gathered to hear Mark D. Hall, P.E. director of the Project Engineering and Review Division, in Project Finance and Construction Assistance (PFCA) at the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), Houston, TX, speak at the Aug. 13 Gulf Coast Trenchless Association meeting held at the Houston Engineering and Scientific Society Building.

The TWDB provides financing, through a variety of funding programs, to communities across Texas for the planning, design and construction of water and wastewater infrastructure projects. Hall is responsible for the engineering and environmental aspects of these projects.

Hall is a civil engineer and graduate from Texas A&M University. He has been with the TWDB in a variety of roles in the agency’s funding programs since 1987.

Hall specifically addressed the audience on TWDB funding programs which is the state’s water planning and water project financing agency. The TWDB’s main responsibilities are threefold: collecting and disseminating water-related data; assisting with regional water planning, and preparing the State Water Plan for the development of the state’s water resources; and administering cost-effective financial programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.

The water development board is made up of 16 planning groups, based on a “bottom-up” consensus-driven approach. Once each group adopts their regional water plan, the plan is sent to the TWDB for approval, who then compile information from the approved regional water plan and other sources to develop the state water plan. “We have to be conversant with each group and their needs to make informed decisions,” comments Hall.

“Most noteworthy among the programs the TWDB offers are the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund,” says Hall.

Loans can be used for the planning, design and construction of projects to upgrade or replace water supply infrastructure, to correct exceedances of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) standards, to consolidate water supplies and to purchase capacity in water systems. Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) loan proceeds can also be used to purchase land integral to the project.

In the case of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), loans can be used for the planning, design and construction of wastewater treatment facilities, wastewater recycling and reuse facilities, collection systems, stormwater pollution control, nonpoint source pollution control and estuary management projects.

Hall explains: “The TWDB is responsible for the engineering and environmental aspects of the funding package from cradle to grave; from initial conception to the final touches of construction. Once a project is approved by the board, funding is released and we can in turn give it to the contractor.”

There is an application and approval process for prospective loan applicants. For DWSRF and CWSRF applicants, an Intended Use Plan must be submitted for the project. “This information is used to rate each proposed project and places them in a priority order. The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TEEQ) prioritizes potential DWSRF loan applicants’ projects using information contained in their files,” explains Hall. “Otherwise, we fund all other projects based in the order of priority.”

The state also provides other financial assistance for other programs. “Financial assistance for the planning, design and construction of State Water Plan (SP) projects may be obtained from the Water Infrastructure Fund (WIF), the State participation Fund, and the Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP),” says Hall

Texas Water Development Board, (512) 463-0991, www.twdb.state.tx.us.

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