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Texas Water Development Board will make changes after oversight committee found inefficient programs

The Sunset Advisory Commission found TWDB has an inefficient review process, needs to evaluate its programs/outreach and eliminate some projects.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) acts as a bank to manage water supply projects in Texas. It gives loans and grants for water supply, treatment, conservation and flood control.

While the Sunset Advisory Commission cannot abolish TWDB, it does have the authority to make recommendations to the legislature and abolish certain programs within TWDB.

The Sunset Commission found three issues with TWDB:

  • TWDB’s inefficient review process contributes to project delays and increased costs.
  • A more strategic, comprehensive evaluation of programs and outreach efforts would benefit TWDB and entities eligible for financial assistance.
  • TWDB’s outdated statute and policies should be updated to eliminate an unnecessary advisory committee and reflect some standard elements of sunset reviews.

“The agency is generally successful at getting dollars out the door for projects, but the significant increase in responsibilities combined with stagnant staffing levels and outdated technology have challenged TWDB’s ability to efficiently administer this key function,” the Sunset Commission’s legislative report shows.

Recommendations include:

  • Require TWDB to develop, collect and analyze performance metrics and establish goals for evaluating its project review process.
  • Authorize TWDB to implement a risk-based approach to project review. 
  • Direct TWDB to develop a plan to prioritize improving its project review process to eliminate inefficiencies and inconsistencies.
  • Direct TWDB to collect and analyze information about its financial assistance applicants and outreach efforts to better inform and more effectively target agency activities. 
  • Direct TWDB to develop a coordinated outreach plan to more efficiently promote agency programs, improve operations, and ensure its outreach efforts meet entities’ needs and expectations.
  • Abolish the SWIFT Advisory Committee.
  • Abolish TWDB’s reports on the Water Loan Assistance Program, Water Bond Insurance Program, and Storage Acquisition Fund, and continue all other reporting requirements.

Water Development Board Executive Administrator Jeff Walker wrote he agrees with the Sunset Commission’s recommendations. He wrote that the board will work to fix the problems.

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