Water Projects

From the Texas Contractor Austin Bureau | September 28, 2010

Texas is scheduled to receive $1,084,570,000 for water projects in fiscal 2008 under the 2007 Water Resources Development Act, which was passed after lawmakers voted to override a veto by President George W. Bush. Coupled with expected spending by river authorities and various special districts, spending for water projects in Texas could be boosted to around $1.8 billion in fiscal 2008, compared to an estimated $1.77 billion the previous year. Uncertainty on federal funding remains a factor on projects under the State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund (SRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF).

Spending by Texas river authorities and water districts on construction projects is estimated at $970 million for fiscal 2008, compared to $945 million in the previous fiscal year, based on continuing expansions and upgrading of existing facilities. Much of that spending is driven by increasing population growth in Texas, with an accompanying demand for drinking water supplies, and increasing consumer and commercial electrical power use.

The Texas Water Development Board has placed $733,850,000 in projects on the SRF priority list for fiscal 2008 and $426,855,000 in projects on the DWSRF priority list. The federal bill was the first (and as of early December the only) federal construction measure to receive final passage by Congress.

The measure includes 39 Texas projects under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Those projects include:

  • Corpus Christi Ship Channel navigation and ecosystem restoration. Total cost is $188,110,000 with a federal cost of $87,810,000 and a non-federal cost of $100,300,000.
  • Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, two navigation projects: from the Brazos River to Port O'Connor (Matagorda Bay re-route) at a total cost of $17,280,000 (half from general fund of the Treasury and half from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund). Also, navigation from Sabine River to Corpus Christi at a total cost of $14,450,000 (under the same cost-share arrangement).
  • Sabine-Neches Waterway (Texas/Louisiana). The bill directs the Corps of Engineers to expedite the report for this project, and, if the corps deems it justified, to proceed directly to preconstruction, engineering and design.
  • San Antonio Channel. The corps is authorized to credit the design and construction costs carried out by the sponsor.
  • Abilene Water Project. The corps will conduct a feasibility study for a proposed water supply project in Abilene.
  • Pat Mayse Lake. The corps is directed to accept $3,461,432 from Paris as payment in full for money owed to the corps for water supply storage space in Pat Mayse Lake.
  • Buffalo Bayou flood control construction.
  • Halls Bayou flood control construction.
  • Cedar Bayou changes the 2000 navigation channel authorization from 12 feet deep by 125 feet wide to 10 feet deep by 100 feet wide.
  • Freeport Harbor. The bill makes all costs relating to the discovery of the sunken vessel "Comstock" the responsibility of the federal government including the vessel's removal and project delay costs.
  • Harris County flood control project at the Upper White Oak Bayou in Harris County.
  • Lower Colorado River Basin, $110,730,000 for flood damage reduction and ecosystem restoration (with an estimated federal share $69,640,000 and non-federal cost $41,090,000).
  • Red River Chloride Control (Texas/Oklahoma). The bill directs the corps to provide operations and maintenance for the Red River Chloride Control Project.
  • Rio Grande Environmental Management Program fish and wildlife habitat rehabilitation and enhancement. For related projects on federal land, all cost is the responsibility of the federal government. For related projects on non-federal property, the cost-share is 65-percent federal and 35-percent non-federal with $15 million being authorized in each fiscal year for 2008–2011.
  • Lower Rio Grande Basin. The bill provides for provides construction on a re-route of the Raymondville Drain in the Lower Rio Grande Basin flood control project.
  • Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). The 2007 Water Resources Development Act establishes the Texas Environmental Infrastructure Program administered by the TWDB to provide environmental assistance to non-federal interests in Texas. The assistance can be in the form of planning, design and construction assistance for water-related environmental infrastructure and resource protection and development projects.

The cost share is 75-percent federal and 25-percent non-federal for project costs with a total authorization of $40 million. Operations and maintenance of these projects will be 100-percent non-federal.