Welcome to the Central Harris County Regional Water Authority website.
In 2003, the Central Harris County Water Users Consortium (the “Consortium”) was formed by written contract among a group of conservation and reclamation districts located primarily north of the City of Houston (the “City”), east of SH 249, South of FM 1960 and west of the Hardy Toll Road. The primary mission of the Consortium was to meet the groundwater reduction mandates of the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District (”HGSD”). The Consortium was initially comprised of ten (10) districts with twelve (12) groundwater wells and a total production of 1,635 million gallons per year. It subsequently expanded to include eleven (11) districts with twelve (12) groundwater wells and a total production of 1,780 million gallons per year.
The Central Harris County Regional Water Authority (the “Authority”) was created by House Bill 3181, 79th Texas Legislature (Reg. Sess. 2005), now codified in Chapter 8815 of the Special District Local Laws Code, pursuant to Section 59, Article XVI, of the Constitution of the State of Texas. The Authority was created to continue the work of the Consortium as a separate political subdivision of the State of Texas, with a five-member Board of Directors appointed by the eleven (11) districts included within its boundaries (the “Member Districts”). A depiction of the boundaries of the Authority is attached hereto.
Following the creation of the Authority, all contracts, assets, and obligations of the Consortium were transferred to the Authority and the Consortium was dissolved.
Texas Water Development Board’s SWIFT FUNDING EXPLAINED
Q. What is SWIFT and where did it come from?
The acronym stands for State Water Implementation Fund for Texas. Public passage of Proposition 6 — a Texas Constitutional Amendment — on November 4, 2013, created and dedicated two new funds: SWIFT and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIRFT). Under this action, the Texas Legislature also authorized a one-time $2 billion investment from the Economic Stabilization Fund (also known as the “Rainy Day Fund”) to be deposited into the SWIFT to support water supply projects in the state water plan.
Q. What is the State Water Plan?
Water planning is not new to Texas; state water plans have been produced since 1961. The foundation of these plans is the regional water planning process that involves hundreds of local and regional stakeholders who study and determine how to meet their future water needs. Since 197l water planning in Texas has been a regional, bottom-up process. Sixteen regional water plans are developed by regional water planning groups every five years and are submitted to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to provide the foundation for the comprehensive state water plan. The five-year planning cycle begins with projecting the population of Texas over the next 50 years and determining how much water that growing population will need to fund economic growth in both cities and rural areas. Upon submittal, a consensus is developed between state agencies, regional water planning groups, and local entities based on projections developed by the Office of the State Demographer and the Texas State Data Center.
The 2017 State Water Plan is credited for being a visionary, transparent, and science-based approach to planning and funding water projects. It is the first of the next generation of state water plans produced in accordance with sweeping legislative changes made by the 83rd Texas Legislature in 2013, and marks the beginning of the state’s new approach to turning water plans into water supplies.
Q. How does SWIFT funding work?
These funds are designed to make the financing of water projects through bonds more affordable for local entities and ensure that consistent ongoing state financial assistance is available so that our citizens will have adequate water supplies during drought conditions. Not less than 20 percent of financial assistance will be applied to support projects that are designed for water conservation or reuse. Applicants for assistance must already have implemented effective conservation programs and be committee to extending the life of their current supplies.
Financial assistance from these funds is used to support the issuance of bonds with bond proceeds loaned to local entities. Simply put, a bond is a loan. It is a contract to repay borrowed money, with interest. Local entities request a loan from the TWDB, who, on behalf of the state, then issues bonds and loans the proceeds to the local entity for water-related projects. The local entities – like CHCRWA – repay these multi-year, low interest loans, and the TWDB then uses these funds to pay the scheduled payments on the TWDB-issued bonds.
Q. Has CHCRWA been able to participate in the TWDB’s funding programs?
Yes, and this access has made a significant difference in what we will pay to secure our long-range water supplies.
Q. What have these funds been used for?
In 2008, CHCRWA secured a $22+ million loan from TWDB’s Water Infrastructure Fund (WIF) program to provide funds necessary to:
- Pay the City of Houston for the Authority’s pro-rata share of
~ surface water capacity for the years 2010-2020 in the City’s Northeast Water Purification Plant (NEWPP)
~ the transmission line from the NEWPP west along Beltway 8 to just east of I-59, and
~ debt held by the City on its existing raw water facilities
- Pay the North Harris County Regional Water Authority (NHCRWA) for the Authority’s pro-rata share of:
~ the Greens Road Line
~ the transmission line from the Greens Road Meter Station to the Spears Road Regional Water Plant, and
~ related metering, re-pressurization and re-pumping facilities; and,
- Pay for design, permitting, and construction of the initial phase of the Authority’s secondary surface water transmission system, and acquire necessary easements.
Q. What about the SWIFT program?
In 2015, 2016 and 2017, the Authority secured a total commitment of $62+ million from TWDB’s SWIFT program to provide the necessary funds for the Authority to fund its share of the expansion of the NEWPP and Phases I and II of the Northeast Transmission Line (NETL), and expand the Authority’s internal distribution system.
To date, the Authority has issued $46,625,000 of the commitment amount.
Q. What will be the savings achieved by using TWDB financing as opposed to financing through public markets?
The CHCRWA’s Financial Advisor* estimates that the Authority will save approximately $13,087,723 over the life of the four TWDB bond financings that have already been implemented. Taking the total savings and dividing them over 30 years, the annual savings works out to be approximately $436,257.
Q. What will be the long term benefit for using this funding option?
The long-term stability and growth of the Texas economy depend on ample water. This money will be paid back and be renewed for permanent access to lower-cost, multi-year funding for qualified projects down the road.