During the June 26 Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) meeting held in Austin, the TWDB approved the publication of the proposed draft rules for the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIRFT) in the Texas Register.

With the publication of the draft rules in the Texas Register, the formal comment period is officially open and will continue until September 1, 2014.

Interested parties can view the draft rules and submit public comments on the TWDB website or email comments to rulescomments@twdb.texas.gov.  

Additionally, the public will have the opportunity to provide comments on the draft rules at TWDB work sessions and Board meetings to be held in San Antonio, San Angelo, Fort Worth and Austin. 

"While the Board is pleased with the draft rules that were approved for publication, we want to stress that they are in fact, a draft," said TWDB Board member Kathleen Jackson. "The Board faces a unique challenge with the size and diversity of Texas. Each part of the state has different water needs and demands. That is why the Board will continue to travel the state and receive public comments from the people of Texas.  We want the final rules to represent the diversity of our great state and the various water needs each community faces."

Today’s press release from the TWDB also stated:

Last November, Texas voters approved legislation that created the SWIFT and SWIRFT. Both funds will be used to finance water projects in the current state water plan. Before the funds become available in 2015, the TWDB Board has to approve administrative rules that define standards for rural, conservation and reuse projects, as well as prioritize projects that are seeking financial assistance. 

"This is a critical step in our efforts to provide billions of dollars for urgently needed water projects in Texas," said TWDB Chairman Carlos Rubinstein. "These draft rules will provide a roadmap to addressing our future water needs. Now it's time for us to roll up our sleeves and continue to work hard ensuring that Texans are planning for today and the future."

Over the past few months, the TWDB has held three stakeholder meetings in Austin and work sessions in Conroe, El Paso, Harlingen and Lubbock. At each session, participants were given the opportunity to provide public comments on the rule development process. 

"The draft rules approved today are a result of not only the TWDB's efforts, but also of citizens who traveled to TWDB meetings and work sessions around the state to provide input," said TWDB Board member Bech Bruun. "Now it's time for us to refine these rules and carry out the direction of the legislature when it passed House Bill 4 to develop reliable sources of water for all Texans."