The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Southwestern Division and Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) recently met to sign a Partnering Agreement on cooperation on large water supply projects in Texas.
“The State Water Plan identifies the need for many additional water supplies in the future, and many of the proposed projects will require prior authorization under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act,” USACE Southwestern Division Commander Brig. Gen. David C. Hill said. “We agreed to form an interagency workgroup in 2015 with the goal of identifying ways to improve the permit review process for these projects. This agreement will help us assist the State of Texas in its efforts to plan for the future water needs of Texans.”
Large water supply projects are those that have a predicted impact large enough to merit an Environmental Impact Statement. The Partnering Agreement will make the permitting process easier for applicants, giving them guidelines and methods for producing data required throughout the process.
“Water plays a big role in our local communities and managing water is a growing concern across the United States, especially in drought prone areas like Texas," EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry said. “When reservoir water levels get lower and ground water tables drop, water supplies, public health, and the environment are put at serious risk. EPA is pleased to be part of a partnership to help Texans prepare for future challenges regarding water supply and the efficient use of this precious resource.”