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Economically Distressed Areas Program helps fund critical water infrastructure projects Posted on May 10, 2022

EDAP assistance may be used for first-time service or improvements to water supply and/or wastewater collection and treatment.

Residents of the Beaver Creek community in Burleson County have historically relied on private water wells to supply homes and businesses, but thanks to grant funding administered by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), residents will soon begin receiving first-time public water supply service.

The Beaver Creek Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 financed the construction of its first water system with $6,345,000 in grant funding from the Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP), administered by the TWDB.

“It’s really special to see communities like Beaver Creek complete their first-time water projects and realize that we helped them achieve that goal,” said Tom Barnett, TWDB Manager for the Brazos region. “It’s a great example of community leaders utilizing EDAP funding to ensure residents have access to safe and reliable drinking water.”

The TWDB offers several programs to provide financial assistance in the form of grants or loans for water and wastewater projects, but EDAP is unique because funding is provided to economically distressed areas where service is unavailable or inadequate to meet state standards.

"Through this program, our agency is helping create a much healthier environment for many Texas families,” said Jessica Peña, the TWDB’s Deputy Executive Administrator of Water Supply and Infrastructure. “We’re dedicated to educating communities about the financial assistance options available and finding the best solutions to bring water and/or wastewater service to residents of the state.”

Applications for financial assistance are being accepted by the TWDB through Friday, May 13, for Texas communities that lack adequate water or wastewater services.

The TWDB encourages cities, counties, water districts, and nonprofit water supply corporations to pursue EDAP funding for projects, including the planning, land acquisition, design, and construction for first-time water and wastewater service, water supply/treatment system improvements, and wastewater collection system/treatment improvements.

Some statutory requirements must be met by entities pursuing EDAP funding. For example, water and wastewater projects must meet minimum qualifications, including lack of service or inadequate service, the median household income in the political subdivision cannot exceed 75% of the state average, and the political subdivision must have existed prior to June 1, 2005. 

Projects with documented public health nuisance determination from the TWDB or the Texas Department of State Health Services are eligible for grants up to 70%; without a public health nuisance determination, applicants are eligible for grants up to 50%. A health nuisance determination means a component or multiple components of the water or wastewater systems pose a threat to public health.

More than a billion dollars in grants and loans have been distributed and nearly 200 projects have been completed across Texas through EDAP. Some projects are funded solely with EDAP financial assistance, while others are financed in conjunction with other TWDB financial assistance programs.

Please visit www.twdb.texas.gov/financial/ programs/EDAP/index.asp for more information and instructions on how to apply.

For specific questions on the program, please contact Financial_Assistance@twdb.texas.gov. Detailed information on the program is also available at www.twdb.texas.gov/financial/programs/EDAP/index.asp.

This article is posted in Water Planning / Financial Assistance / Water Supply .