H.B. No. 578

relating to the inclusion in a regional water plan of information regarding water infrastructure facilities that may be used in an emergency shortage of water. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Section 16.053, Water Code, is amended by amending Subsection (e) and adding Subsection (r) to read as follows: (e) Each regional water planning group shall submit to the board a regional water plan that: (1) is consistent with the guidance principles for the state water plan adopted by the board under Section 16.051(d); (2) provides information based on data provided or approved by the board in a format consistent with the guidelines provided by the board under Subsection (d); (3) identifies: (A) each source of water supply in the regional water planning area in accordance with the guidelines provided by the board under Subsections (d) and (f); (B) factors specific to each source of water supply to be considered in determining whether to initiate a drought response; [and] (C) actions to be taken as part of the response; and (D) existing major water infrastructure facilities that may be used for interconnections in the event of an emergency shortage of water; (4) has specific provisions for water management strategies to be used during a drought of record; (5) includes but is not limited to consideration of the following: (A) any existing water or drought planning efforts addressing all or a portion of the region; (B) certified groundwater conservation district management plans and other plans submitted under Section 16.054; (C) all potentially feasible water management strategies, including but not limited to improved conservation, reuse, and management of existing water supplies, acquisition of available existing water supplies, and development of new water supplies; (D) protection of existing water rights in the region; (E) opportunities for and the benefits of developing regional water supply facilities or providing regional management of water supply facilities; (F) appropriate provision for environmental water needs and for the effect of upstream development on the bays, estuaries, and arms of the Gulf of Mexico and the effect of plans on navigation; (G) provisions in Section 11.085(k)(1) if interbasin transfers are contemplated; (H) voluntary transfer of water within the region using, but not limited to, regional water banks, sales, leases, options, subordination agreements, and financing agreements; and (I) emergency transfer of water under Section 11.139, including information on the part of each permit, certified filing, or certificate of adjudication for nonmunicipal use in the region that may be transferred without causing unreasonable damage to the property of the nonmunicipal water rights holder; (6) identifies river and stream segments of unique ecological value and sites of unique value for the construction of reservoirs that the regional water planning group recommends for protection under Section 16.051; (7) assesses the impact of the plan on unique river and stream segments identified in Subdivision (6) if the regional water planning group or the legislature determines that a site of unique ecological value exists; and (8) describes the impact of proposed water projects on water quality. (r) Information described by Subsection (e)(3)(D) that is included in a regional water plan submitted to the board is excepted from required disclosure under the public information law, Chapter 552, Government Code. SECTION 2. The change in law made by this Act applies only to a regional water plan submitted by a regional water planning group to the Texas Water Development Board on or after the effective date of this Act. A regional water plan submitted before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect immediately before the effective date of this Act, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose. SECTION 3. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2005. ______________________________ ______________________________ President of the Senate Speaker of the House I certify that H.B. No. 578 was passed by the House on April 27, 2005, by a non-record vote. ______________________________ Chief Clerk of the House I certify that H.B. No. 578 was passed by the Senate on May 25, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0. ______________________________ Secretary of the Senate APPROVED: _____________________ Date _____________________ Governor