PHARR, Texas (Border Report) — The Texas Water Development Board on Wednesday began a two-day tour of the Rio Grande Valley to see first-hand how the drought is affecting South Texas border farmers and communities.

Texas Water Development Board Chairwoman Brooke Paup told Border Report this is the first time the board has gone on the road in a decade.

On Wednesday, the board toured a desalination plant in Brownsville, a wastewater treatment plant in Donna, Texas, and drainage areas in Harlingen, Texas.

On Thursday, the board is scheduled to hold a meeting at Harlingen City Hall starting at 9:30 a.m. CT. Invited guests include Harlingen Mayor Norma Sepulveda; Los Fresnos Mayor Alejandro Flores, and other local leaders.

The public is invited to attend and ask questions, according to the posted agenda.

“We know that South Texas is the home of our food and our fiber and the water needs are very intense down in the area,” Paup said

The 3-member Texas Water Development is touring the Rio Grande Valley to earmark water infrastructure projects needed during this drought, said chairwoman Brooke Paup. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report)

The Texas Water Development Board is a three-member state agency that has the ability to fund water infrastructure projects.

“We’re small but mighty. We’re basically a bank. So, we provide infrastructure lending to communities to help build infrastructure projects throughout the state of Texas,” Paup said.

Paup recently spoke at the NADBank Summit in San Antonio where she discussed drought issues and the need for infrastructure improvements.

The agency on Wednesday released a drought map of Texas, which shows the Rio Grande Valley listed as “severe drought.”

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at