Texas Water Development Board

By: Laurie E. Jasinski

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: July 27, 2020

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The Texas Water Development Board was established in 1957 through a state constitutional amendment. A six-member board was appointed by the governor to serve as a policy-making body. Membership consisted of overlapping six-year terms, and each board member had to be from a different section of the state. The agency's original function was to provide loan assistance to political subdivisions for the development of surface water supply projects that could not be financed through commercial channels. During the 1960s the board's responsibilities grew to include the authority to obtain and develop water conservation storage facilities, prepare a state water plan, and assume operations of the Texas Water Commission not related to the question of water rights. In the 1990s the Texas Water Development Board had a number of broad responsibilities. One primary function was still the granting of loans to local governments in order to implement flood and pollution control, wastewater treatment, and municipal solid waste management. In addition, the board provided grants and loans to economically distressed areas of the state to implement water and sewage projects, including low-interest loans to colonia residents for plumbing improvements. The agency was responsible for collecting data and conducting studies regarding agricultural water conservation, fresh water needs of Texas estuaries and bays, and surface and ground water resources. It also maintained the Texas Natural Resources Information System, a central database of information concerning the state's resources. The executive administrator's office implements the agency's policies. An administrative division provides support through services such as accounting, budget monitoring, and inventory recordkeeping. The board funds its assistance programs with state-backed bonds and federal grants to provide for a State Revolving Fund for borrowers, overseen by the office of the Development Fund manager. Loan recipients also receive engineering and technical advice from the board's engineers and archeologists. As the agency responsible for developing a state water plan, the Texas Water Development Board employs a number of research sections to assess and project water availability, environmental impact, and water uses for both agricultural and municipal areas. The board continually collects surface and underground water information through hydrologic monitoring. It provides technical evaluation of water resource problems and promotes programs on conservation education. In 1991 the board had a budget of almost $11 million. By the early 1990s the agency had sold over $1 billion in bonds for the financing of water-related projects since its inception.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Laurie E. Jasinski, “Texas Water Development Board,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 18, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-water-development-board.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 27, 2020