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State Water Development Board Ready To Hand Out Seed Money For Differentiator Projects

Just over a year ago, voters approved a special ballot item aimed at funding the next 50 years of water projects through the state. This week, the Texas Water Development Board announced it has begun accepting applications for grants.

Last year, voters, recognizing the region’s long-term water issues, approved signature legislation. They agreed to redirect part of the excess revenue from the oil and gas industry going into Texas’ Rainy Day Fund, up to $2 billiion, for use as seed money for various city, county and nonprofit public utility water projects.

Horseshoe Bay Republican, State Sen. Troy Fraiser, helped pass the legislation and set up the board that oversees it.

“In our vision, we said we want you to go out into the communities, we want you do go out to people looking to put projects together, help them put that project together and then try to find a way that we can help them with the funding.”, Fraiser said.

Carlos Rubinstein is the chairman of the Texas Water Development Board, which manages the account.

“Applications for prioritization will be solicited for the next 90 days, and all of them will be due no later than Feb. 3 to the Texas Water Development Board. The internal process to select projects will be efficient, transparent and data driven.",  Rubinstein said.

The process of grantees receiving the money though, could take up to a year, or more. The board, however, has already approved some early applications, like the City of San Antonio’s efforts to build an additional water treatment facility. According to the law, 10 percent of the grants must go towards rural and agricultural water needs, and another 20 percent for water conservation efforts.