Far West Texas Water Planning Group

The Rio Grande Council of Governments serves as the administrative entity and public involvement coordinator for the Far West Texas Water Planning Group, a citizen body tasked with developing a 50-year regional water resources management plan under Texas Senate Bill1 (75th Legislative Session).  This project, funded by the Texas Water Development Board and by contributions from local government entities and water supply districts, has enabled our region to prepare a legislatively mandated regional water plan for a seven-county planning region in West Texas.




Who we are

In FY2015, the Water Planning Group began the fifth cycle of regional water planning.  Work will be focused on legislative monitoring, administrative budget development, and educational workshops/fieldtrips.  Work has commenced on the 5-year update to Far West Texas regional plan.  This work includes reviewing and assessing baseline planning information and examining proposed water management strategies for the development and collection of metrics.

The RGCOG’s role in the regional water planning process has three broad aspects:

  • providing administrative support for the Far West Texas Water Planning Group;
  • providing fiscal management of Texas Water Development Board funds which have been passed through to technical consultants to the Planning Group; and
  • developing and implementing a comprehensive public involvement strategy to maximize local input and buy-in to the planning process.

The RGCOG therefore acts as fiscal agent and project manager for the regional planning effort.

What we do

Region 15-URGFPG is responsible for producing a regional flood plan. As previously mentioned, the URGFPG is comprised of twelve interest categories as determined by the TWDB. All of the members are strongly affiliated with and endorsed by the interest category for which they were nominated. These categories include 1) Agricultural interests 2) Industries 3) River authorities 4) Counties 5) Municipalities 6) Water districts 7) Flood districts 8) Electric generating utilities 9) Public 10) Water utilities 11) Environmental interests and 12) Small businesses.

All of our members have experience in and a continued strong interest in working cooperatively on public issues; they are committed to and possess expertise in flood risk-related issues; and are capable of playing a leadership role in a regional flood planning group. They are responsible for representing a diverse group of regional stakeholders, and this representation may involve considerations that extend far beyond their own personal or professional interests or concerns.

The URGFPG follow the scope of work as delineated by the TWDB. However, recognizing the magnitude and scope of work required, the URGFPG rely on their Technical Consultant, AECOM, to meet all of the required tasks set forth by the TWDB.

Flood Planning Region

The Upper Rio Grande Regional Flood Planning consists of portions of Brewster, Crane, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Loving, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves, Terrell, and Ward, and portions of Andrews, Crockett, Ector, Edwards, Midland, Reagan, Schleicher, Sutton, Upton, Val Verde, and Winkler.



Planning Group Sponsor

One of the first responsibilities for the URGFPG was to designate a planning group sponsor to apply for funding and to otherwise support the planning process. A planning group sponsor must be a political subdivision, defined as a county, city, or other body politic or corporate of the state, including any district or authority created under Art. 3 § 52 or Art. 16 § 59 of the Texas Constitution.

In October of 2020, the URGFPG voted to designate the Rio Grande Council of Governments (RGCOG) as the planning group sponsor for the initial flood planning cycle. Council of Governments (COGS) are voluntary associations of, by and for local governments, and was established to assist local governments in planning for common needs, cooperating for mutual benefit, and coordinating for sound regional development. The RGCOG was established in 1967 and recognized as a political subdivision of the State of Texas, as codified pursuant to the Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 391. The RGCOG, based in El Paso, Texas, with offices in Alpine and Marfa. RGCOG serves a 7-county region of Far West Texas and Southern New Mexico. RGCOG has 30 member governments which include 7 counties, 1 Tribal nation, 14 cities, 2 school districts, and 5 special districts.

The RGCOG manages a number of programs throughout its service area. One program that is similar to the flood planning process, is Regional Water Planning that has been operated by the RGCOG since 1997.

As the planning group sponsor for the URGRFPG, the RGCOG will be responsible for:

  • preparing and submitting grant funding applications to the TWDB on behalf of the regional flood planning group;
  • entering into and managing a contract with the TWDB for the management of the grant funds;
  • procuring and managing a contract with a technical consultant(s) selected by the regional flood planning group to support the development or revision of a regional flood plan;
  • serving as the regional flood planning group’s administrative agent by organizing planning group meetings, public notices, agendas, meeting presentations, handouts, and meeting minutes; and
  • delivering the first regional flood plan, on behalf of the planning group, no later than January 10, 2023.