Texas Laws - Water Code
WATER CODE
TITLE 2. WATER ADMINISTRATION

SUBTITLE E. GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT (13190)(1-click HTML)

CHAPTER 35. GROUNDWATER STUDIES (13191)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 35.001. PURPOSE. (13192)(1-click HTML)

In order to provide for the conservation, preservation, protection, recharging, and prevention of waste of the groundwater, and of groundwater reservoirs or their subdivisions, and to control subsidence caused by withdrawal of water from those groundwater reservoirs or their subdivisions, consistent with the objectives of Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, groundwater management areas may be created as provided by this chapter. (13193)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13194)

Sec. 35.002. DEFINITIONS. (13195)(1-click HTML)

In this chapter: (13196)

(1) "District" means any district or authority created under Section 52, Article III, or Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, that has the authority to regulate the spacing of water wells, the production from water wells, or both. (13197)

(2) "Commission" means the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. (13198)

(3) "Executive director" means the executive director of the commission. (13199)

(4) "Executive administrator" means the executive administrator of the Texas Water Development Board. (13200)

(5) "Groundwater" means water percolating below the surface of the earth. (13201)

(6) "Groundwater reservoir" means a specific subsurface water-bearing reservoir having ascertainable boundaries containing groundwater. (13202)

(7) "Subdivision of a groundwater reservoir" means a definable part of a groundwater reservoir in which the groundwater supply will not be appreciably affected by withdrawing water from any other part of the reservoir, as indicated by known geological and hydrological conditions and relationships and on foreseeable economic development at the time the subdivision is designated or altered. (13203)

(8) "Subsidence" means the lowering in elevation of the land surface caused by withdrawal of groundwater. (13204)

(9) "Board" means the board of directors of a district. (13205)

(10) "Director" means a member of a board. (13206)

(11) "Management area" means an area designated and delineated by the Texas Water Development Board as an area suitable for management of groundwater resources. (13207)

(12) "Priority groundwater management area" means an area designated and delineated by the commission as an area that is experiencing or is expected to experience critical groundwater problems. (13208)

(13) "Political subdivision" means a county, municipality, or other body politic or corporate of the state, including a district or authority created under Section 52, Article III, or Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, a state agency, or a nonprofit water supply corporation created under Chapter 76, Acts of the 43rd Legislature, 1st Called Session, 1933 (Article 1434a, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes). (13209)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.10, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.21, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13210)

Sec. 35.003. SURFACE WATER LAWS NOT APPLICABLE. (13211)(1-click HTML)

The laws and administrative rules relating to the use of surface water do not apply to groundwater. (13212)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13213)

Sec. 35.004. DESIGNATION OF GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREAS. (13214)(1-click HTML)

(a) The Texas Water Development Board, with assistance and cooperation from the commission, shall designate groundwater management areas covering all major and minor aquifers in the state. The initial designation of groundwater management areas shall be completed not later than September 1, 2003. Each groundwater management area shall be designated with the objective of providing the most suitable area for the management of the groundwater resources. To the extent feasible, the groundwater management area shall coincide with the boundaries of a groundwater reservoir or a subdivision of a groundwater reservoir. The Texas Water Development Board also may consider other factors, including the boundaries of political subdivisions. (13215)

(b) The commission may designate a groundwater management area after September 1, 2001, for a petition filed and accepted by the commission according to its rules in effect before September 1, 2001. The commission shall act on the designation in accordance with this section. (13216)

(c) The Texas Water Development Board may alter the boundaries of designated management areas as required by future conditions and as justified by factual data. An alteration of boundaries does not invalidate the previous creation of any district. (13217)

(d) The Texas Water Development Board shall designate groundwater management areas using the procedures applicable to rulemaking under Chapter 2001, Government Code. (13218)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.22, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13219)

Sec. 35.007. IDENTIFYING, DESIGNATING, AND DELINEATING PRIORITY GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREAS. (13220)(1-click HTML)

(a) The executive director and the executive administrator shall meet periodically to identify, based on information gathered by the commission and the Texas Water Development Board, those areas of the state that are experiencing or that are expected to experience, within the immediately following 50-year period, critical groundwater problems, including shortages of surface water or groundwater, land subsidence resulting from groundwater withdrawal, and contamination of groundwater supplies. Not later than September 1, 2005, the commission, with assistance and cooperation from the Texas Water Development Board, shall complete the initial designation of priority groundwater management areas across all major and minor aquifers of the state for all areas that meet the criteria for that designation. The studies may be prioritized considering information from the regional planning process, information from the Texas Water Development Board groundwater management areas and from groundwater conservation districts, and any other information available. After the initial designation of priority groundwater management areas, the commission and the Texas Water Development Board shall annually review the need for additional designations as provided by this subsection. (13221)

(b) If the executive director concludes that an area of the state should be considered for designation as a priority groundwater management area, the executive director shall prepare a report to the commission. (13222)

(c) Before the executive director requests a study from the executive administrator under Subsection (d), the executive director shall provide notice to the persons listed in Section 35.009(c) of areas being considered for identification as experiencing or expected to experience critical groundwater problems and shall consider any information or studies submitted under this subsection. Not later than the 45th day after the date of the notice, a person required to receive notice under this subsection may submit to the executive director information or studies that address the potential effects on an area of being identified as experiencing or expected to experience critical groundwater problems. (13223)

(d) The executive director shall begin preparation of a priority groundwater management area report by requesting a study from the executive administrator. The study must: (13224)

(1) include an appraisal of the hydrogeology of the area and matters within the Texas Water Development Board's planning expertise relevant to the area; (13225)

(2) assess the area's immediate, short-term, and long-term water supply and needs; and (13226)

(3) be completed and delivered to the executive director on or before the 180th day following the date of the request. If the study is not delivered within this 180-day period, the executive director may proceed with the preparation of the report. (13227)

(e) The executive director shall request a study from the executive director of the Parks and Wildlife Department for the purpose of preparing the report required by this section. The Department of Agriculture may also provide input to the executive director for purposes of the report. The study must: (13228)

(1) evaluate the potential effects of the designation of a priority groundwater management area on an area's natural resources; and (13229)

(2) be completed and delivered to the executive director on or before the 180th day following the date of the request. If the study is not delivered within this 180-day period, the executive director may proceed with the preparation of the report. (13230)

(f) The report shall include: (13231)

(1) the recommended delineation of the boundaries of any proposed priority groundwater management area in the form of an order to be considered for adoption by the commission; (13232)

(2) the reasons and supporting information for or against designating the area as a priority groundwater management area; (13233)

(3) a recommendation regarding whether one or more districts should be created in the priority groundwater management area, whether the priority groundwater management area should be added to an existing district, or whether a combination of those actions should be taken; (13234)

(4) a recommendation as to actions that should be considered to conserve natural resources; (13235)

(5) an evaluation of information or studies submitted to the executive director under Subsection (c); and (13236)

(6) any other information that the executive director considers helpful to the commission. (13237)

(g) The executive director must complete the report and file it with the commission on or before the 240th day following the date on which the executive administrator was requested to produce a study. The executive director shall make the report available for public inspection by providing a copy of the report to at least one public library and the county clerk's office in each county in which the proposed priority groundwater management area is located and to all districts adjacent to the area of the proposed priority groundwater management area. (13238)

(h) To carry out this section, the executive director may make necessary studies, hold hearings, solicit and collect information, and use information already prepared by the executive director or the executive administrator for other purposes. (13239)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.11, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 456, Sec. 10, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 979, Sec. 12, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.23, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13240)

Amended by: (13241)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 886 (S.B. 313), Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2011. (13242)

Sec. 35.008. PROCEDURES FOR DESIGNATION OF PRIORITY GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREA; CONSIDERATION OF CREATION OF NEW DISTRICT OR ADDITION OF LAND IN PRIORITY GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREA TO EXISTING DISTRICT; COMMISSION ORDER. (13243)(1-click HTML)

(a) The commission shall designate priority groundwater management areas using the procedures provided by this chapter in lieu of those provided by Subchapter B, Chapter 2001, Government Code. (13244)

(b) The commission shall call an evidentiary hearing to consider: (13245)

(1) the designation of a priority groundwater management area; and (13246)

(2) whether one or more districts should be created over all or part of a priority groundwater management area, all or part of the land in the priority groundwater management area should be added to an existing district, or a combination of those actions should be taken. Consideration of this issue shall include a determination of whether a district is feasible and practicable. (13247)

(c) Evidentiary hearings shall be held at a location in one of the counties in which the priority groundwater management area is located, or proposed to be located, or in the nearest convenient location if adequate facilities are not available in those counties. (13248)

(d) At the hearing, the commission shall hear testimony and receive evidence from affected persons. Affected persons shall include landowners, well owners, and other users of groundwater in the proposed priority groundwater management area. The commission shall consider the executive director's report and supporting information and the testimony and evidence received at the hearing. If the commission considers further information necessary, the commission may request such information from any source. (13249)

(e) Any evidentiary hearing shall be concluded not later than the 75th day after the date notice of the hearing is published. (13250)

(f) At the conclusion of the hearing and the commission's considerations, the commission shall issue an order stating its findings and conclusions, including whether a priority groundwater management area should be designated in the area and recommendations regarding district creation as set forth in Subsection (g). (13251)

(g) The commission's order designating a priority groundwater management area must recommend that the area be covered by a district in any of the following ways: (13252)

(1) creation of one or more new districts; (13253)

(2) addition of the land in the priority groundwater management area to one or more existing districts; or (13254)

(3) a combination of actions under Subdivisions (1) and (2). (13255)

(h) In recommending the boundaries of a district or districts under Subsection (g), the commission shall give preference to boundaries that are coterminous with those of the priority groundwater management area, but may recommend district boundaries along existing political subdivision boundaries at the discretion of the commission to facilitate district creation and confirmation. (13256)

(i) The designation of a priority groundwater management area may not be appealed nor may it be challenged under Section 5.351 of this code or Section 2001.038, Government Code. (13257)

(j) The commission may adopt rules regarding: (13258)

(1) the creation of a district over all or part of a priority groundwater management area that was designated as a critical area under Chapter 35, Water Code, as that chapter existed before September 1, 1997, or under other prior law; and (13259)

(2) the addition of all or part of the land in a priority groundwater management area described by Subdivision (1) to an existing district. (13260)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.12, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.24, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13261)

Amended by: (13262)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 886 (S.B. 313), Sec. 2, eff. June 17, 2011. (13263)

Sec. 35.009. NOTICE AND HEARING. (13264)(1-click HTML)

(a) The commission shall have notice of the hearing published in at least one newspaper with general circulation in the county or counties in which the area proposed for designation as a priority groundwater management area is located. Notice must be published not later than the 30th day before the date set for the hearing. (13265)

(b) The notice must include: (13266)

(1) if applicable, a statement of the general purpose and effect of designating the proposed priority groundwater management area; (13267)

(2) if applicable, a statement of the general purpose and effect of creating a new district in the priority groundwater management area; (13268)

(3) if applicable, a statement of the general purpose and effect of adding all or part of the land in the priority groundwater management area to an existing district; (13269)

(4) a map generally outlining the boundaries of the area being considered for priority groundwater management area designation or notice of the location at which a copy of the map may be examined or obtained; (13270)

(5) a statement that the executive director's report concerning the priority groundwater management area or proposed area is available at the commission's main office in Austin, Texas, and at regional offices of the commission for regions which include territory within the priority groundwater management area or proposed priority groundwater management area and that the report is available for inspection during regular business hours; (13271)

(6) a description or the name of the locations in the affected area at which the commission has provided copies of the executive director's report to be made available for public inspection; (13272)

(7) the name and address of each public library, each county clerk's office, and each district to which the commission has provided copies of the executive director's report; and (13273)

(8) the date, time, and place of the hearing. (13274)

(c) The commission shall also give written notice of the date, time, place, and purpose of the hearing to the governing body of each county, regional water planning group, adjacent groundwater district, municipality, river authority, water district, or other entity which supplies public drinking water, including each holder of a certificate of convenience and necessity issued by the commission, and of each irrigation district, located either in whole or in part in the priority groundwater management area or proposed priority groundwater management area. The notice must be given before the 30th day preceding the date set for the hearing. (13275)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.13, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.25, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13276)

Sec. 35.012. CREATION OF DISTRICT IN PRIORITY GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREA. (13277)(1-click HTML)

(a) Following the issuance of a commission order under Section 35.008 designating a priority groundwater management area and recommending the creation of one or more districts, or the addition of land to an existing district, the landowners in the priority groundwater management area may: (13278)

(1) create one or more districts under Subchapter B, Chapter 36; (13279)

(2) have the area annexed to a district that adjoins the area; or (13280)

(3) create one or more districts through the legislative process. (13281)

(b) Except as provided by Section 35.013, within two years, but no sooner than 120 days, from the date on which the commission issues an order under Section 35.008 designating a priority groundwater management area, for those areas that are not within a district, the commission shall create one or more new districts under Section 36.0151. (13282)

(b-1) For purposes of this section, the commission may consider territory in two separately designated priority groundwater management areas to be in the same designated priority groundwater management area if: (13283)

(1) the two areas share a common boundary and one or more common aquifers; and (13284)

(2) the commission determines that a district composed of territory in the two areas will result in more effective or efficient groundwater management than other options available to the commission. (13285)

(c) Following the issuance of a commission order under Section 35.008, the Texas Agricultural Extension Service shall begin an educational program within such areas with the assistance and cooperation of the Texas Water Development Board, the commission, the Department of Agriculture, other state agencies, and existing districts to inform the residents of the status of the area's water resources and management options including possible formation of a district. The county commissioners court of each county in the priority groundwater management area shall form a steering committee to provide assistance to the Texas Agricultural Extension Service in accomplishing the goals of the education program within the area. (13286)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.14, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 456, Sec. 11, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 979, Sec. 13, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.26, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13287)

Amended by: (13288)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 886 (S.B. 313), Sec. 3, eff. June 17, 2011. (13289)

Sec. 35.013. ADDING PRIORITY GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREA TO EXISTING DISTRICT. (13290)(1-click HTML)

(a) If the commission in its order under Section 35.008 recommends that the priority groundwater management area or a portion of the priority groundwater management area be added to an existing district, the commission shall give notice to the board of the existing district recommended in its order and to any other existing districts adjacent to the priority groundwater management area. (13291)

(b) The commission shall submit a copy of the order to the board of the district to which it is recommending the priority groundwater management area be added. Not later than the 120th day after the date of receiving the copy, the board shall vote on the addition of the priority groundwater management area to the district and shall advise the commission of the outcome. (13292)

(b-1) If the district described by Subsection (b) has not approved an ad valorem tax on the date of the commission's order issued under Section 35.008 and the board of the district votes to accept the addition of the priority groundwater management area to the district, the board shall enter an order adding the territory in the district. (13293)

(c) If the district described by Subsection (b) has approved an ad valorem tax on the date of the commission's order issued under Section 35.008 and the board votes to accept the addition of the priority groundwater management area to the district, the board: (13294)

(1) shall enter an order adding the territory in the district; (13295)

(2) may request the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, the commission, and the Texas Water Development Board, with the cooperation and assistance of the Department of Agriculture and other state agencies, to administer an educational program to inform the residents of the status of the area's water resources, the addition of territory to the district, and options for financing management of the groundwater resources of the district; (13296)

(3) shall call an election to be held not later than the 270th day after the date of the board's vote under Subsection (b) within the priority groundwater management area, or portion of the priority groundwater management area, as delineated by the commission to determine if the added area will assume a proportional share of the debts or taxes of the district; and (13297)

(4) shall designate election precincts and polling places for the elections in the order calling an election under this subsection. (13298)

(d) The board shall give notice of the election and the proposition to be voted on. The board shall publish notice of the election at least one time in one or more newspapers with general circulation within the boundaries of the priority groundwater management area. The notice must be published before the 30th day preceding the date set for the election. (13299)

(e) The ballots for the election shall be printed to provide for voting for or against the proposition: "The assumption by the ______ (briefly describe the territory added under Subsection (c)(1)) of a proportional share of the debts or taxes of the ______ District instead of the assessment of fees in the described area to fund the groundwater management activities of the district." (13300)

(f) Immediately after the election, the presiding judge of each polling place shall deliver the returns of the election to the board, and the board shall canvass the returns for the election within the priority groundwater management area and declare the results. If a majority of the voters in the priority groundwater management area voting on the proposition vote in favor of the proposition, the board shall declare that the priority groundwater management area assumes a proportional share of the debts or taxes of the district. If a majority of the voters in the priority groundwater management area voting on the proposition do not vote in favor of the proposition, the board shall adopt rules to implement Subsection (g-1). The board shall file a copy of the election results with the commission. (13301)

(g) The board of the district to which the priority groundwater management area is added shall provide reasonable representation on that board compatible with the district's existing scheme of representation. Not later than the 30th day after the date on which the board declares that the priority groundwater management area is added to the district, the board of the existing district shall appoint a person or persons to represent the area until the next regularly scheduled election or appointment of directors. (13302)

(g-1) If the voters do not approve the assumption of a proportional share of the debts or taxes of a district under Subsection (e), the board shall assess production fees in the added territory based on the amount of water authorized by permit to be withdrawn from a well or the amount actually withdrawn. A district may use revenue generated for any purpose authorized by Section 36.206 or 36.207. Initial production fees may not exceed production fees as set in Section 36.205(c), but may be increased by the board on a majority vote after the first anniversary of the commission order. Production fees may be raised incrementally by 40 percent and 10 percent every following year until the maximum production fees equal: (13303)

(1) $2 per acre-foot, payable annually, for water used for an agricultural purpose; or (13304)

(2) 30 cents per 1,000 gallons, payable annually, for water used for any non-agricultural purpose. (13305)

(h) Not later than the first anniversary of the date on which the proposition is defeated, or the board of the existing district votes not to accept the addition of the area to the district, the commission shall, except as provided under Subsection (i): (13306)

(1) create under Section 36.0151 one or more districts covering the priority groundwater management area; or (13307)

(2) recommend the area be added to another existing district as provided by this section. (13308)

(i) For an area that is not feasible for the creation of one or more districts as determined in the commission's findings under Section 35.008, the commission shall include in its report under Section 35.018 recommendations for the future management of the priority groundwater management area. (13309)

(j) Another election to add the priority groundwater management area to an existing district may not be called before the first anniversary of the date on which the election on the proposition was held. (13310)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.15, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 456, Sec. 12, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 979, Sec. 14, eff. June 18, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.27, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13311)

Amended by: (13312)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 886 (S.B. 313), Sec. 4, eff. June 17, 2011. (13313)

Sec. 35.014. COSTS OF ELECTIONS. (13314)(1-click HTML)

(a) The costs of an election to create a district at which a district is authorized to be created shall be paid by the district. (13315)

(b) The costs of an election to add a priority groundwater management area to an existing district at which the voters approve adding the priority groundwater management area to the district shall be paid by the existing district. (13316)

(c) The costs of an election to create a district or add a priority groundwater management area to an existing district at which the proposition fails shall be paid by the commission. (13317)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.16, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (13318)

Sec. 35.015. STATE ASSISTANCE. (13319)(1-click HTML)

A political subdivision located in an area delineated as a priority groundwater management area, and in which qualified voters approve the creation of a district or annexation into an existing district, shall be given consideration to receive financial assistance from the state under Chapter 17 for funds to be used in addressing issues identified in the priority groundwater management area report in the manner provided by Sections 17.124 and 17.125. (13320)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.17, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (13321)

Sec. 35.017. STATE-OWNED LAND. (13322)(1-click HTML)

If state-owned land or a portion of state-owned land is located in a priority groundwater management area, the state agency that has management and control over that land under the constitution or by statute may elect by written agreement with the commission and the district to include the state-owned land in the district. The agreement shall be entered into as provided by the Texas Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, Chapter 741, Government Code, and may include provisions for the payment by the state agency of reasonable fees to the district. If the state does not elect to enter into the agreement to include the state-owned land in the district, the state agency must establish a groundwater management plan that will conserve, protect, and prevent the waste of groundwater on that state-owned land. (13323)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.18, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (13324)

Sec. 35.018. REPORTS. (13325)(1-click HTML)

(a) No later than January 31 of each odd-numbered year, the commission in conjunction with the Texas Water Development Board shall prepare and deliver to the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the speaker of the house of representatives a comprehensive report concerning activities during the preceding two years relating to the designation of priority groundwater management areas by the commission and the creation and operation of districts. (13326)

(b) The report must include: (13327)

(1) the names and locations of all priority groundwater management areas and districts created or attempted to be created on or after November 5, 1985, the effective date of Chapter 133 (H.B. No. 2), Acts of the 69th Legislature, Regular Session, 1985; (13328)

(2) the authority under which each priority groundwater management area and district was proposed for creation; (13329)

(3) a detailed analysis of each election held to confirm the creation of a district, including analysis of election results, possible reasons for the success or failure to confirm the creation of a district, and the possibility for future voter approval of districts in areas in which attempts to create districts failed; (13330)

(4) a detailed analysis of the activities of each district created, including those districts which are implementing management plans certified under Section 36.1072; (13331)

(5) a report on audits performed on districts under Section 36.302 and remedial actions taken under Section 36.303; (13332)

(6) recommendations for changes in this chapter and Chapter 36 that will facilitate the creation of priority groundwater management areas and the creation and operation of districts; (13333)

(7) a report on educational efforts in newly designated priority groundwater management areas; and (13334)

(8) any other information and recommendations that the commission considers relevant. (13335)

(c) If the commission determines that a district created under Chapter 36 is not appropriate for, or capable of, the protection of the groundwater resources for a particular management area or priority groundwater management area, the commission may recommend in its report to the legislature the creation of a special district or amendment of an existing district. (13336)

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.19, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.28, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13337)

Sec. 35.019. WATER AVAILABILITY. (13338)(1-click HTML)

(a) The commissioners court of a county in a priority groundwater management area may adopt water availability requirements in an area where platting is required if the court determines that the requirements are necessary to prevent current or projected water use in the county from exceeding the safe sustainable yield of the county's water supply. (13339)

(b) The commissioners court of a county in a priority groundwater management area may: (13340)

(1) require a person seeking approval of a plat required by Subchapter A, Chapter 232, Local Government Code, to show: (13341)

(A) compliance with the water availability requirements adopted by the court under this section; and (13342)

(B) that an adequate supply of water of sufficient quantity and quality is available to supply the number of lots proposed for the platted area; (13343)

(2) adopt standards or formulas to determine whether an adequate water supply exists for the platted area; and (13344)

(3) adopt procedures for submitting the information necessary to determine whether an adequate water supply exists for the platted area. (13345)

(c) The water availability requirements established by a commissioners court under this section may require that: (13346)

(1) a person seeking approval of a plat or attempting to sell a lot in a subdivision: (13347)

(A) notify a purchaser of a lot in the subdivision if an approved water supply for the subdivision does not exist; or (13348)

(B) if the person attempts to build a water supply system to serve one or more lots within the subdivision: (13349)

(i) comply with federal, state, and local law; and (13350)

(ii) establish an entity to construct and operate the system; or (13351)

(2) a planned or operating water supply system serving one or more lots within a subdivision be built and operated in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and rules related to public drinking water. (13352)

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.19, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (13353)

Sec. 35.020. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT PROCESS. (13354)(1-click HTML)

It is the policy of the state to encourage public participation in the groundwater management process in areas within a groundwater management area not represented by a groundwater conservation district. (13355)

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1430 (S.B. 3), Sec. 2.20, eff. September 1, 2007. (13356)

CHAPTER 36. GROUNDWATER CONSERVATION DISTRICTS (13357)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 36.001. DEFINITIONS. (13358)(1-click HTML)

In this chapter: (13359)

(1) "District" means any district or authority created under Section 52, Article III, or Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, that has the authority to regulate the spacing of water wells, the production from water wells, or both. (13360)

(2) "Commission" means the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. (13361)

(3) "Executive director" means the executive director of the commission. (13362)

(4) "Executive administrator" means the executive administrator of the Texas Water Development Board. (13363)

(4-a) "Federal conservation program" means the Conservation Reserve Program of the United States Department of Agriculture, or any successor program. (13364)

(5) "Groundwater" means water percolating below the surface of the earth. (13365)

(6) "Groundwater reservoir" means a specific subsurface water-bearing reservoir having ascertainable boundaries containing groundwater. (13366)

(7) "Subdivision of a groundwater reservoir" means a definable part of a groundwater reservoir in which the groundwater supply will not be appreciably affected by withdrawing water from any other part of the reservoir, as indicated by known geological and hydrological conditions and relationships and on foreseeable economic development at the time the subdivision is designated or altered. (13367)

(8) "Waste" means any one or more of the following: (13368)

(A) withdrawal of groundwater from a groundwater reservoir at a rate and in an amount that causes or threatens to cause intrusion into the reservoir of water unsuitable for agricultural, gardening, domestic, or stock raising purposes; (13369)

(B) the flowing or producing of wells from a groundwater reservoir if the water produced is not used for a beneficial purpose; (13370)

(C) escape of groundwater from a groundwater reservoir to any other reservoir or geologic strata that does not contain groundwater; (13371)

(D) pollution or harmful alteration of groundwater in a groundwater reservoir by saltwater or by other deleterious matter admitted from another stratum or from the surface of the ground; (13372)

(E) willfully or negligently causing, suffering, or allowing groundwater to escape into any river, creek, natural watercourse, depression, lake, reservoir, drain, sewer, street, highway, road, or road ditch, or onto any land other than that of the owner of the well unless such discharge is authorized by permit, rule, or order issued by the commission under Chapter 26; (13373)

(F) groundwater pumped for irrigation that escapes as irrigation tailwater onto land other than that of the owner of the well unless permission has been granted by the occupant of the land receiving the discharge; or (13374)

(G) for water produced from an artesian well, "waste" also has the meaning assigned by Section 11.205. (13375)

(9) "Use for a beneficial purpose" means use for: (13376)

(A) agricultural, gardening, domestic, stock raising, municipal, mining, manufacturing, industrial, commercial, recreational, or pleasure purposes; (13377)

(B) exploring for, producing, handling, or treating oil, gas, sulphur, or other minerals; or (13378)

(C) any other purpose that is useful and beneficial to the user. (13379)

(10) "Subsidence" means the lowering in elevation of the land surface caused by withdrawal of groundwater. (13380)

(11) "Board" means the board of directors of a district. (13381)

(12) "Director" means a member of a board. (13382)

(13) "Management area" means an area designated and delineated by the Texas Water Development Board under Chapter 35 as an area suitable for management of groundwater resources. (13383)

(14) "Priority groundwater management area" means an area designated and delineated by the commission under Chapter 35 as an area experiencing or expected to experience critical groundwater problems. (13384)

(15) "Political subdivision" means a county, municipality, or other body politic or corporate of the state, including a district or authority created under Section 52, Article III, or Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, a state agency, or a nonprofit water supply corporation created under Chapter 67. (13385)

(16) "Loan fund" means the groundwater conservation district loan assistance fund created under Section 36.371. (13386)

(17) Repealed by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 970, Sec. 18, eff. September 1, 2005. (13387)

(18) "Public water supply well" means, for purposes of a district governed by this chapter, a well that produces the majority of its water for use by a public water system. (13388)

(19) "Agriculture" means any of the following activities: (13389)

(A) cultivating the soil to produce crops for human food, animal feed, or planting seed or for the production of fibers; (13390)

(B) the practice of floriculture, viticulture, silviculture, and horticulture, including the cultivation of plants in containers or nonsoil media, by a nursery grower; (13391)

(C) raising, feeding, or keeping animals for breeding purposes or for the production of food or fiber, leather, pelts, or other tangible products having a commercial value; (13392)

(D) planting cover crops, including cover crops cultivated for transplantation, or leaving land idle for the purpose of participating in any governmental program or normal crop or livestock rotation procedure; (13393)

(E) wildlife management; and (13394)

(F) raising or keeping equine animals. (13395)

(20) "Agricultural use" means any use or activity involving agriculture, including irrigation. (13396)

(21) "Conjunctive use" means the combined use of groundwater and surface water sources that optimizes the beneficial characteristics of each source. (13397)

(22) "Nursery grower" means a person who grows more than 50 percent of the products that the person either sells or leases, regardless of the variety sold, leased, or grown. For the purpose of this definition, "grow" means the actual cultivation or propagation of the product beyond the mere holding or maintaining of the item prior to sale or lease and typically includes activities associated with the production or multiplying of stock such as the development of new plants from cuttings, grafts, plugs, or seedlings. (13398)

(23) "River basin" means a river or coastal basin designated as a river basin by the board under Section 16.051. The term does not include waters of the bays or arms originating in the Gulf of Mexico. (13399)

(24) "Total aquifer storage" means the total calculated volume of groundwater that an aquifer is capable of producing. (13400)

(25) "Modeled available groundwater" means the amount of water that the executive administrator determines may be produced on an average annual basis to achieve a desired future condition established under Section 36.108. (13401)

(26) "Recharge" means the amount of water that infiltrates to the water table of an aquifer. (13402)

(27) "Inflows" means the amount of water that flows into an aquifer from another formation. (13403)

(28) "Discharge" means the amount of water that leaves an aquifer by natural or artificial means. (13404)

(29) "Evidence of historic or existing use" means evidence that is material and relevant to a determination of the amount of groundwater beneficially used without waste by a permit applicant during the relevant time period set by district rule that regulates groundwater based on historic use. Evidence in the form of oral or written testimony shall be subject to cross-examination. The Texas Rules of Evidence govern the admissibility and introduction of evidence of historic or existing use, except that evidence not admissible under the Texas Rules of Evidence may be admitted if it is of the type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs. (13405)

(30) "Desired future condition" means a quantitative description, adopted in accordance with Section 36.108, of the desired condition of the groundwater resources in a management area at one or more specified future times. (13406)

(31) "Operating permit" means any permit issued by the district for the operation of or production from a well, including a permit to drill or complete a well if the district does not require a separate permit for the drilling or completion of a well. (13407)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.20, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 18.65, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.29, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1234, Sec. 34, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1275, Sec. 2(147), eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (13408)

Amended by: (13409)

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 970 (H.B. 1763), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005. (13410)

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 970 (H.B. 1763), Sec. 18, eff. September 1, 2005. (13411)

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1116 (H.B. 2423), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005. (13412)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 18 (S.B. 737), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2011. (13413)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1233 (S.B. 660), Sec. 14, eff. September 1, 2011. (13414)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 308 (S.B. 854), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015. (13415)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 415 (H.B. 2767), Sec. 1, eff. June 10, 2015. (13416)

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 324 (S.B. 1488), Sec. 19.003, eff. September 1, 2017. (13417)

Sec. 36.0015. PURPOSE. (13418)(1-click HTML)

(a) In this section, "best available science" means conclusions that are logically and reasonably derived using statistical or quantitative data, techniques, analyses, and studies that are publicly available to reviewing scientists and can be employed to address a specific scientific question. (13419)

(b) In order to provide for the conservation, preservation, protection, recharging, and prevention of waste of groundwater, and of groundwater reservoirs or their subdivisions, and to control subsidence caused by withdrawal of water from those groundwater reservoirs or their subdivisions, consistent with the objectives of Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, groundwater conservation districts may be created as provided by this chapter. Groundwater conservation districts created as provided by this chapter are the state's preferred method of groundwater management in order to protect property rights, balance the conservation and development of groundwater to meet the needs of this state, and use the best available science in the conservation and development of groundwater through rules developed, adopted, and promulgated by a district in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. (13420)

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.21, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.30, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13421)

Amended by: (13422)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 993 (H.B. 200), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015. (13423)

Sec. 36.002. OWNERSHIP OF GROUNDWATER. (13424)(1-click HTML)

(a) The legislature recognizes that a landowner owns the groundwater below the surface of the landowner's land as real property. (13425)

(b) The groundwater ownership and rights described by this section entitle the landowner, including a landowner's lessees, heirs, or assigns, to: (13426)

(1) drill for and produce the groundwater below the surface of real property, subject to Subsection (d), without causing waste or malicious drainage of other property or negligently causing subsidence; and (13427)

(2) have any other right recognized under common law. (13428)

(b-1) The groundwater ownership and rights described by this section do not: (13429)

(1) entitle a landowner, including a landowner's lessees, heirs, or assigns, to the right to capture a specific amount of groundwater below the surface of that landowner's land; or (13430)

(2) affect the existence of common law defenses or other defenses to liability under the rule of capture. (13431)

(c) Nothing in this code shall be construed as granting the authority to deprive or divest a landowner, including a landowner's lessees, heirs, or assigns, of the groundwater ownership and rights described by this section. (13432)

(d) This section does not: (13433)

(1) prohibit a district from limiting or prohibiting the drilling of a well by a landowner for failure or inability to comply with minimum well spacing or tract size requirements adopted by the district; (13434)

(2) affect the ability of a district to regulate groundwater production as authorized under Section 36.113, 36.116, or 36.122 or otherwise under this chapter or a special law governing a district; or (13435)

(3) require that a rule adopted by a district allocate to each landowner a proportionate share of available groundwater for production from the aquifer based on the number of acres owned by the landowner. (13436)

(e) This section does not affect the ability to regulate groundwater in any manner authorized under: (13437)

(1) Chapter 626, Acts of the 73rd Legislature, Regular Session, 1993, for the Edwards Aquifer Authority; (13438)

(2) Chapter 8801, Special District Local Laws Code, for the Harris-Galveston Subsidence District; and (13439)

(3) Chapter 8834, Special District Local Laws Code, for the Fort Bend Subsidence District. (13440)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.31, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13441)

Amended by: (13442)

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1116 (H.B. 2423), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005. (13443)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1207 (S.B. 332), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2011. (13444)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 590 (H.B. 4112), Sec. 1, eff. June 16, 2015. (13445)

SUBCHAPTER B. CREATION OF DISTRICT (13446)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 36.011. METHOD OF CREATING DISTRICT. (13447)(1-click HTML)

(a) A groundwater conservation district may be created under and subject to the authority, conditions, and restrictions of Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution. (13448)

(b) The commission has exclusive jurisdiction over the creation of districts. (13449)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.32, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13450)

Sec. 36.012. COMPOSITION OF DISTRICT. (13451)(1-click HTML)

(a) A district may include all or part of one or more counties, cities, districts, or other political subdivisions. (13452)

(b) A district may not include territory located in more than one county except on a majority vote of the voters residing within the territory in each county sought to be included in the district at an election called for that purpose. (13453)

(c) The boundaries of a district must be coterminous with or inside the boundaries of a management area or a priority groundwater management area. (13454)

(d) A district may consist of separate bodies of land separated by land not included in the district. (13455)

(e) A majority of the voters in a segregated area must approve the creation of the district before that area may be included in the district. (13456)

(f) This section does not apply to districts created under Section 36.0151. (13457)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.22, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.33, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13458)

Sec. 36.013. PETITION TO CREATE DISTRICT. (13459)(1-click HTML)

(a) A petition requesting creation of a district must be filed with the commission for review and certification under Section 36.015. (13460)

(b) The petition filed pursuant to this section must be signed by: (13461)

(1) a majority of the landowners within the proposed district, as indicated by the county tax rolls; or (13462)

(2) if there are more than 50 landowners in the proposed district, at least 50 of those landowners. (13463)

(c) The petition must include: (13464)

(1) the name of the proposed district; (13465)

(2) the area and boundaries of the proposed district, including a map generally outlining the boundaries of the proposed district; (13466)

(3) the purpose or purposes of the district; (13467)

(4) a statement of the general nature of any projects proposed to be undertaken by the district, the necessity and feasibility of the work, and the estimated costs of those projects according to the persons filing the projects if the projects are to be funded by the sale of bonds or notes; (13468)

(5) the names of at least five individuals qualified to serve as temporary directors; and (13469)

(6) financial information, including the projected maintenance tax or production fee rate and a proposed budget of revenues and expenses for the district. (13470)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.23, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.34, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13471)

Sec. 36.014. NOTICE AND PUBLIC MEETING ON DISTRICT CREATION. (13472)(1-click HTML)

(a) If a petition is filed under Section 36.013, the commission shall give notice of the application and shall conduct a public meeting in a central location within the area of the proposed district on the application not later than the 60th day after the date the commission issues notice. The notice must contain the date, time, and location of the public meeting and must be published in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the area of the proposed district. (13473)

(b) If the petition contains a request to create a management area in all or part of the proposed district, the notice must also be given in accordance with the requirements in Section 35.006 for the designation of management areas. (13474)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1070, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.35, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13475)

Sec. 36.015. COMMISSION CERTIFICATION AND ORDER. (13476)(1-click HTML)

(a) Not later than the 90th day after the date the commission holds a public meeting on a petition under Section 36.014, the commission shall certify the petition if the petition is administratively complete. A petition is administratively complete if it complies with the requirements of Sections 36.013(b) and (c). (13477)

(b) The commission may not certify a petition if the commission finds that the proposed district cannot be adequately funded to carry out its purposes based on the financial information provided in the petition under Section 36.013(c)(6) or that the boundaries of the proposed district do not provide for the effective management of the groundwater resources. The commission shall give preference to boundary lines that are coterminous with those of a groundwater management area but may also consider boundaries along existing political subdivision boundaries if such boundaries would facilitate district creation and confirmation. (13478)

(c) If a petition proposes the creation of a district in an area, in whole or in part, that has not been designated as a management area, the commission shall provide notice to the Texas Water Development Board. On the receipt of notice from the commission, the Texas Water Development Board shall initiate the process of designating a management area for the area of the proposed district not included in a management area. The commission may not certify the petition until the Texas Water Development Board has adopted a rule whereby the boundaries of the proposed district are coterminous with or inside the boundaries of a management area. (13479)

(d) If the commission does not certify the petition, the commission shall provide to the petitioners, in writing, the reasons for not certifying the petition. The petitioners may resubmit the petition, without paying an additional fee, if the petition is resubmitted within 90 days after the date the commission sends the notice required by this subsection. (13480)

(e) If the commission certifies the petition as administratively complete, the commission shall issue an order, notify the petitioners, and appoint temporary directors as provided by Section 36.016. (13481)

(f) Refusal by the commission to certify a petition to create a district does not invalidate or affect the designation of any management area. (13482)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.36, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13483)

Sec. 36.0151. CREATION OF DISTRICT FOR PRIORITY GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREA. (13484)(1-click HTML)

(a) If the commission is required to create a district under Section 35.012(b), it shall, without an evidentiary hearing, issue an order creating the district and shall provide in its order that temporary directors be appointed under Section 36.0161 and that an election be called by the temporary directors to authorize the district to assess taxes and to elect permanent directors. (13485)

(b) The commission shall notify the county commissioners court of each county with territory in the district of the district's creation as soon as practicable after issuing the order creating the district. (13486)

(c) The commission may amend the territory in an order issued under Section 35.008 or this section to adjust for areas that, in the time between when the order was issued under Section 35.008 and the order is issued under this section, have: (13487)

(1) been added to an existing district or created as a separate district; or (13488)

(2) not been added to an existing district or created as a separate district. (13489)

(d) In making a modification under Subsection (c), the commission may recommend: (13490)

(1) creation of a new district in the area; or (13491)

(2) that the area be added to a different district. (13492)

(e) Except as provided by Section 35.013(h), a change in the order under Subsection (c) does not affect a deadline under Section 35.012 or 35.013. (13493)

(f) Before September 1, 2021, the commission may not create a groundwater conservation district under this section in a county: (13494)

(1) in which the annual amount of surface water used is more than 50 times the annual amount of groundwater produced; (13495)

(2) that is located in a priority groundwater management area; and (13496)

(3) that has a population greater than 2.3 million. (13497)

(g) To the extent of a conflict between Subsection (f) and Section 35.012, Subsection (f) prevails. (13498)

(h) The commission may charge an annual fee not to exceed $500 to a county described by Subsection (f) for the purpose of studying compliance with that subsection in that county and the overall groundwater consumption in that county. (13499)

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.24, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.37, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13500)

Amended by: (13501)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 886 (S.B. 313), Sec. 5, eff. June 17, 2011. (13502)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., 1st C.S., Ch. 4 (S.B. 1), Sec. 77.01, eff. September 28, 2011. (13503)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1196 (S.B. 1336), Sec. 12, eff. September 1, 2015. (13504)

Sec. 36.016. APPOINTMENT OF TEMPORARY DIRECTORS. (13505)(1-click HTML)

(a) If the commission certifies a petition to create a district under Section 36.015, the commission shall appoint the temporary directors named in the petition. If the commission dissolves a district's board under Section 36.303, it shall appoint five temporary directors. (13506)

(b) If the commission creates a district under Section 36.0151, the county commissioners court or courts of the county or counties that contain the area of the district shall, within 90 days after receiving notification by the commission under Section 36.0151(b), appoint five temporary directors, or more if the district contains the territory of more than five counties, for the district's board using the method provided by Section 36.0161. A county commissioners court shall not make any appointments after the expiration of the 90-day period. If fewer than five temporary directors have been appointed at the expiration of the period, the commission shall appoint additional directors so that the board has at least five members. (13507)

(c) Temporary directors appointed under this section shall serve until the initial directors are elected and have qualified for office or until the voters fail to approve the creation of the district. (13508)

(d) If an appointee of the commission or of a county commissioners court fails to qualify or if a vacancy occurs in the office of temporary director, the commission or the county commissioners court, as appropriate, shall appoint an individual to fill the vacancy. (13509)

(e) As soon as all temporary directors have qualified, the directors shall meet, take the oath of office, and elect a chairman and vice chairman from among their membership. The chairman shall preside at all meetings of the board and, in the chairman's absence, the vice chairman shall preside. (13510)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.25, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.38, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13511)

Sec. 36.0161. METHOD FOR APPOINTING TEMPORARY DIRECTORS FOR DISTRICT IN PRIORITY GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREA. (13512)(1-click HTML)

(a) If a district in a priority groundwater management area is: (13513)

(1) contained within one county, the county commissioners court of that county shall appoint five temporary directors for the district; (13514)

(2) contained within two counties, the county commissioners court of each county shall appoint at least one temporary director, with the appointments of the three remaining directors to be apportioned as provided by Subsection (b); (13515)

(3) contained within three counties, the county commissioners court of each county shall appoint at least one temporary director, with the appointments of the two remaining directors to be apportioned as provided by Subsection (b); (13516)

(4) contained within four counties, the county commissioners court of each county shall appoint at least one temporary director, with the appointment of the remaining director to be apportioned as provided by Subsection (b); or (13517)

(5) contained within five or more counties, the county commissioners court of each county shall appoint one temporary director. (13518)

(b)(1) In this subsection, "estimated groundwater use" means the estimate of groundwater use in acre-feet developed by the commission under Subsection (c) for the area of a county that is within the district. (13519)

(2) The apportionment of appointments under Subsection (a) shall be made by the commission so as to reflect, as closely as possible, the proportion each county's estimated groundwater use bears to the sum of the estimated groundwater use for the district as determined under Subsection (c). The commission shall by rule determine the method it will use to implement this subdivision. (13520)

(c) If a district for which temporary directors are to be appointed is contained within two, three, or four counties, the commission shall develop an estimate of annual groundwater use in acre-feet for each county area within the district. (13521)

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.26, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (13522)

Sec. 36.017. CONFIRMATION AND DIRECTORS' ELECTION FOR DISTRICT IN A MANAGEMENT AREA. (13523)(1-click HTML)

(a) For a district created under Section 36.015, not later than the 120th day after the date all temporary directors have been appointed and have qualified, the temporary directors shall meet and order an election to be held within the boundaries of the proposed district to approve the creation of the district and to elect permanent directors. (13524)

(b) In the order calling the election, the temporary directors shall designate election precincts and polling places for the election. In designating the polling places, the temporary directors shall consider the needs of all voters for conveniently located polling places. (13525)

(c) The temporary directors shall publish notice of the election at least one time in at least one newspaper with general circulation within the boundaries of the proposed district. The notice must be published before the 30th day preceding the date of the election. (13526)

(d) The ballot for the election must be printed to provide for voting for or against the proposition: "The creation of the _________________ Groundwater Conservation District." If the district levies a maintenance tax for payment of its expenses, then an additional proposition shall be included with the following language: "The levy of a maintenance tax at a rate not to exceed ______ cents for each $100 of assessed valuation." The same ballot or another ballot must provide for the election of permanent directors, in accordance with Section 36.059. (13527)

(e) Immediately after the election, the presiding judge of each polling place shall deliver the returns of the election to the temporary board, and the board shall canvass the returns and declare the result. The board shall file a copy of the election result with the commission. (13528)

(f) If a majority of the votes cast at the election favor the creation of the district, the temporary board shall declare the district created and shall enter the result in its minutes. (13529)

(g) If a majority of the votes cast at the election are against the creation of the district, the temporary board shall declare the district defeated and shall enter the result in its minutes. The temporary board shall continue operations in accordance with Subsection (h). (13530)

(h) If the majority of the votes cast at the election are against the creation of the district, the district shall have no further authority, except that any debts incurred shall be paid and the organization of the district shall be maintained until all the debts are paid. (13531)

(i) If a majority of the votes cast at the election are against the levy of a maintenance tax, the district shall set fees authorized by this chapter to pay for the district's regulation of groundwater in the district. (13532)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.39, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13533)

Amended by: (13534)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 415 (H.B. 2767), Sec. 2, eff. June 10, 2015. (13535)

Sec. 36.0171. TAX AUTHORITY AND DIRECTORS' ELECTION FOR DISTRICT IN A PRIORITY GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREA. (13536)(1-click HTML)

(a) For a district created under Section 36.0151, not later than the 120th day after the date all temporary directors have been appointed and have qualified, the temporary directors shall meet and order an election to be held within the boundaries of the proposed district to authorize the district to assess taxes and to elect permanent directors. (13537)

(b) In the order calling the election, the temporary directors shall designate election precincts and polling places for the election. In designating the polling places, the temporary directors shall consider the needs of all voters for conveniently located polling places. (13538)

(c) The temporary directors shall publish notice of the election at least once in at least one newspaper with general circulation within the boundaries of the proposed district. The notice must be published before the 30th day preceding the date of the election. (13539)

(d) The ballot for the election must be printed to provide for voting for or against the proposition: "The levy of a maintenance tax by the ___________________ Groundwater Conservation District at a rate not to exceed ______ cents for each $100 of assessed valuation." The same ballot or another ballot must provide for the election of permanent directors, in accordance with Section 36.059. (13540)

(e) Immediately after the election, the presiding judge of each polling place shall deliver the returns of the election to the temporary board, and the board shall canvass the returns, declare the result, and turn over the operations of the district to the elected permanent directors. The board shall file a copy of the election result with the commission. (13541)

(f) If a majority of the votes cast at the election favor the levy of a maintenance tax, the temporary board shall declare the levy approved and shall enter the result in its minutes. (13542)

(g) If a majority of the votes cast at the election are against the levy of a maintenance tax, the temporary board shall declare the levy defeated and shall enter the result in its minutes. (13543)

(h) If the majority of the votes cast at the election are against the levy of a maintenance tax, the district shall set fees authorized by this chapter in accordance with Section 35.013(g-1) to pay for the district's regulation of groundwater in the district. (13544)

Added by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.40, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13545)

Amended by: (13546)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 886 (S.B. 313), Sec. 6, eff. June 17, 2011. (13547)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 415 (H.B. 2767), Sec. 3, eff. June 10, 2015. (13548)

Sec. 36.018. INCLUSION OF MUNICIPALITY. (13549)(1-click HTML)

(a) If part of the territory to be included in a district is located in a municipality, a separate voting district may not be established in the municipality for the purpose of determining whether the municipality as a separate area is to be included in the district. (13550)

(b) If for any other reason the territory in a municipality is established as a separate voting district, the failure by the voters in the municipal territory to confirm the creation of the district or the annexation of territory to a district does not prevent the territory in the municipality from being included in the district. (13551)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1995. (13552)

Sec. 36.019. CONFIRMATION ELECTION IN DISTRICT INCLUDING LAND IN MORE THAN ONE COUNTY. (13553)(1-click HTML)

(a) A district, the major portion of which is located in one county, may not be organized to include land in another county unless the election held in the other county to confirm and ratify the creation of the district is approved by a majority of the voters of the other county voting in an election called for that purpose. (13554)

(b) This section does not apply to districts created under Section 36.0151. (13555)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.41, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13556)

Sec. 36.020. BOND AND TAX PROPOSAL. (13557)(1-click HTML)

(a) At an election to create a district, the temporary directors may include a proposition for the issuance of bonds or notes, the levy of taxes to retire all or part of the bonds or notes, and the levy of a maintenance tax. The maintenance tax rate may not exceed 50 cents on each $100 of assessed valuation. (13558)

(b) The board shall include in any bond and tax proposition the maximum amount of bonds or notes to be issued and their maximum maturity date. (13559)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13560)

Sec. 36.021. NOTIFICATION OF COUNTY CLERK. (13561)(1-click HTML)

Within 30 days following the creation of a district or any amendment to the boundaries of a district, the board of directors shall file with the county clerk of each county in which all or part of the district is located a certified copy of the description of the boundaries of the district. Each county clerk shall record the certified copy of the boundaries in the property records of that county. (13562)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13563)

SUBCHAPTER C. ADMINISTRATION (13564)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 36.051. BOARD OF DIRECTORS. (13565)(1-click HTML)

(a) The governing body of a district is the board of directors, which shall consist of not fewer than five and not more than 11 directors elected for four-year terms. The number of directors may be changed as determined by the board when territory is annexed by the district. (13566)

(b) A member of a governing body of another political subdivision is ineligible for appointment or election as a director. A director is disqualified and vacates the office of director if the director is appointed or elected as a member of the governing body of another political subdivision. This subsection does not apply to any district with a population less than 50,000. (13567)

(c) Vacancies in the office of director shall be filled by appointment of the board. If the vacant office is not scheduled for election for longer than two years at the time of the appointment, the board shall order an election for the unexpired term to be held as part of the next regularly scheduled director's election. The appointed director's term shall end on qualification of the director elected at that election. (13568)

(d) In a district with a population of less than 50,000, the common law doctrine of incompatibility does not disqualify: (13569)

(1) a member of the governing body or officer of another political subdivision other than a municipality or county from serving as a director of the district; or (13570)

(2) a director of the district from serving as a member of the governing body or officer of another political subdivision other than a municipality or county. (13571)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 78, Sec. 1, eff. May 19, 2003. (13572)

Sec. 36.052. OTHER LAWS NOT APPLICABLE. (13573)(1-click HTML)

(a) Other laws governing the administration or operations of districts created under Section 52, Article III, or Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, shall not apply to any district governed by this chapter. This chapter prevails over any other law in conflict or inconsistent with this chapter, except any special law governing a specific district shall prevail over this chapter. (13574)

(b) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), the following provisions prevail over a conflicting or inconsistent provision of a special law that governs a specific district: (13575)

(1) Sections 36.107-36.108; (13576)

(2) Sections 36.159-36.161; and (13577)

(3) Subchapter I. (13578)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.27, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (13579)

Sec. 36.053. QUORUM. (13580)(1-click HTML)

A majority of the membership of the board constitutes a quorum for any meeting, and a concurrence of a majority of the entire membership of the board is sufficient for transacting any business of the district. (13581)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13582)

Sec. 36.054. OFFICERS. (13583)(1-click HTML)

(a) After a district is created and the directors have qualified, the board shall meet, elect a president, vice president, secretary, and any other officers or assistant officers as the board may deem necessary and begin the discharge of its duties. (13584)

(b) After each directors' election, the board shall meet and elect officers. (13585)

(c) The president is the chief executive officer of the district, presides at all meetings of the board, and shall execute all documents on behalf of the district. The vice president shall act as president in case of the absence or disability of the president. The secretary is responsible for seeing that all records and books of the district are properly kept and shall attest the president's signature on all documents. (13586)

(d) The board may appoint another director, the general manager, or any employee as assistant or deputy secretary to assist the secretary, and any such person shall be entitled to certify as to the authenticity of any record of the district, including but not limited to all proceedings relating to bonds, contracts, or indebtedness of the district. (13587)

(e) After any election or appointment of a director, a district shall notify the executive director within 30 days after the date of the election or appointment of the name and mailing address of the director chosen and the date that director's term of office expires. The executive director shall provide forms to the district for such purpose. (13588)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13589)

Sec. 36.055. SWORN STATEMENT, BOND, AND OATH OF OFFICE. (13590)(1-click HTML)

(a) As soon as practicable after a director is elected or appointed, that director shall make the sworn statement prescribed by the constitution for public office. (13591)

(b) As soon as practicable after a director has made the sworn statement, and before beginning to perform the duties of office, that director shall take the oath of office prescribed by the constitution for public officers. (13592)

(c) Before beginning to perform the duties of office, each director shall execute a bond for $10,000 payable to the district and conditioned on the faithful performance of that director's duties. All bonds of the directors shall be approved by the board and paid for by the district. (13593)

(d) The sworn statement shall be filed as prescribed by the constitution. The bond and oath shall be filed with the district and retained in its records. A duplicate original of the oath shall also be filed with the secretary of state within 10 days after its execution and need not be filed before the new director begins to perform the duties of office. (13594)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 249, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1999. (13595)

Sec. 36.056. GENERAL MANAGER. (13596)(1-click HTML)

(a) The board may employ or contract with a person to perform such services as general manager for the district as the board may from time to time specify. The board may delegate to the general manager full authority to manage and operate the affairs of the district subject only to orders of the board. (13597)

(b) The board may delegate to the general manager the authority to employ all persons necessary for the proper handling of the business and operation of the district and to determine the compensation to be paid all employees other than the general manager. (13598)

(c) Except in a district that is composed of the territory of more than one county, a director may be employed as general manager of the district. The compensation of a general manager who also serves as a director shall be established by the other directors. (13599)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13600)

Sec. 36.057. MANAGEMENT OF DISTRICT. (13601)(1-click HTML)

(a) The board shall be responsible for the management of all the affairs of the district. The district shall employ or contract with all persons, firms, partnerships, corporations, or other entities, public or private, deemed necessary by the board for the conduct of the affairs of the district, including, but not limited to, engineers, attorneys, financial advisors, operators, bookkeepers, tax assessors and collectors, auditors, and administrative staff. (13602)

(b) The board shall set the compensation and terms for consultants. (13603)

(c) In selecting attorneys, engineers, auditors, financial advisors, or other professional consultants, the district shall follow the procedures provided in the Professional Services Procurement Act, Subchapter A, Chapter 2254, Government Code. (13604)

(d) The board shall require an officer, employee, or consultant who collects, pays, or handles any funds of the district to furnish good and sufficient bond, payable to the district, in an amount determined by the board to be sufficient to safeguard the district. The bond shall be conditioned on the faithful performance of that person's duties and on accounting for all funds and property of the district. Such bond shall be signed or endorsed by a surety company authorized to do business in the state. (13605)

(e) The board may pay the premium on surety bonds required of officials, employees, or consultants of the district out of any available funds of the district, including proceeds from the sale of bonds. (13606)

(f) The board may adopt bylaws to govern the affairs of the district to perform its purposes. The board may, by resolution, authorize its general manager or other employee to execute documents on behalf of the district. (13607)

(g) The board shall also have the right to purchase all materials, supplies, equipment, vehicles, and machinery needed by the district to perform its purposes. (13608)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13609)

Sec. 36.058. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST. (13610)(1-click HTML)

A director of a district is subject to the provisions of Chapters 171 and 176, Local Government Code, relating to the regulation of conflicts of officers of local governments. (13611)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13612)

Amended by: (13613)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 415 (H.B. 2767), Sec. 4, eff. June 10, 2015. (13614)

Sec. 36.059. GENERAL ELECTIONS. (13615)(1-click HTML)

(a) All elections shall be generally conducted in accordance with the Election Code except as otherwise provided for by this chapter. Write-in candidacies for any district office shall be governed by Subchapter C, Chapter 146, Election Code. (13616)

(b) The directors of the district shall be elected according to the precinct method as defined by Chapter 12, page 1105, Special Laws, Acts of the 46th Legislature, Regular Session, 1939. To be qualified to be elected as a director, a person must be a registered voter in the precinct that the person represents. If any part of a municipal corporation is a part of one precinct, then no part of the municipal corporation shall be included in another precinct, except that a municipal corporation having a population of more than 200,000 may be divided between two or more precincts. In a multicounty district, not more than two of the five precincts may include the same municipal corporation or part of the same municipal corporation. (13617)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13618)

Sec. 36.060. FEES OF OFFICE; REIMBURSEMENT. (13619)(1-click HTML)

(a) A director is entitled to receive fees of office of not more than $250 a day for each day the director actually spends performing the duties of a director. The fees of office may not exceed $9,000 a year. (13620)

(b) Each director is also entitled to receive reimbursement of actual expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred while engaging in activities on behalf of the district. (13621)

(c) In order to receive fees of office and to receive reimbursement for expenses, each director shall file with the district a verified statement showing the number of days actually spent in the service of the district and a general description of the duties performed for each day of service. (13622)

(d) Section 36.052(a) notwithstanding, Subsection (a) prevails over any other law in conflict with or inconsistent with that subsection, including a special law governing a specific district unless the special law prohibits the directors of that district from receiving a fee of office. If the application of this section results in an increase in the fees of office for any district, that district's fees of office shall not increase unless the district's board by resolution authorizes payment of the higher fees. (13623)

(e) For liability purposes only, a director is considered a district employee under Chapter 101, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, even if the director does not receive fees of office voluntarily, by district policy, or through a statutory exception to this section. (13624)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1354, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.42, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 905, Sec. 1, eff. June 20, 2003. (13625)

Amended by: (13626)

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 931 (H.B. 1563), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2013. (13627)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 464 (H.B. 3163), Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2015. (13628)

Sec. 36.061. POLICIES. (13629)(1-click HTML)

(a) Subject to the law governing the district, the board shall adopt the following in writing: (13630)

(1) a code of ethics for district directors, officers, employees, and persons who are engaged in handling investments for the district; (13631)

(2) a policy relating to travel expenditures; (13632)

(3) a policy relating to district investments that ensures that: (13633)

(A) purchases and sales of investments are initiated by authorized individuals, conform to investment objectives and regulations, and are properly documented and approved; and (13634)

(B) periodic review is made of district investments to evaluate investment performance and security; (13635)

(4) policies and procedures for selection, monitoring, or review and evaluation of professional services; and (13636)

(5) policies that ensure a better use of management information, including: (13637)

(A) budgets for use in planning and controlling cost; and (13638)

(B) an audit or finance committee of the board. (13639)

(b) The state auditor may audit the records of any district if the state auditor determines that the audit is necessary. (13640)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 785, Sec. 51, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (13641)

Amended by: (13642)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 415 (H.B. 2767), Sec. 5, eff. June 10, 2015. (13643)

Sec. 36.062. OFFICES AND MEETING PLACES. (13644)(1-click HTML)

(a) The board shall designate from time to time and maintain one or more regular offices for conducting the business of the district and maintaining the records of the district. Such offices may be located either inside or outside the district's boundaries as determined in the discretion of the board. (13645)

(b) The board shall designate one or more places inside or outside the district for conducting the meetings of the board. (13646)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13647)

Sec. 36.063. NOTICE OF MEETINGS. (13648)(1-click HTML)

(a) Except as provided by Subsections (b) and (c), notice of meetings of the board shall be given as set forth in the Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551, Government Code. Neither failure to provide notice of a regular meeting nor an insubstantial defect in notice of any meeting shall affect the validity of any action taken at the meeting. (13649)

(b) At least 10 days before a hearing under Section 36.108(d-2) or a meeting at which a district will adopt a desired future condition under Section 36.108(d-4), the board must post notice that includes: (13650)

(1) the proposed desired future conditions and a list of any other agenda items; (13651)

(2) the date, time, and location of the meeting or hearing; (13652)

(3) the name, telephone number, and address of the person to whom questions or requests for additional information may be submitted; (13653)

(4) the names of the other districts in the district's management area; and (13654)

(5) information on how the public may submit comments. (13655)

(c) Except as provided by Subsection (b), notice of a hearing described by Subsection (b) must be provided in the manner prescribed for a rulemaking hearing under Section 36.101(d). (13656)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13657)

Amended by: (13658)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1233 (S.B. 660), Sec. 15, eff. September 1, 2011. (13659)

Sec. 36.064. MEETINGS. (13660)(1-click HTML)

(a) The board shall hold regular meetings at least quarterly. It may hold meetings at other times as required for the business of the district. (13661)

(b) Meetings shall be conducted and notice of meetings shall be posted in accordance with the Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551, Government Code. A meeting of a committee of the board, or a committee composed of representatives of more than one board, where less than a quorum of any one board is present is not subject to the provisions of the Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551, Government Code. (13662)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13663)

Sec. 36.065. RECORDS. (13664)(1-click HTML)

(a) The board shall keep a complete account of all its meetings and proceedings and shall preserve its minutes, contracts, records, notices, accounts, receipts, and other records in a safe place. (13665)

(b) The records of each district are the property of the district and are subject to Chapter 552, Government Code. (13666)

(c) The preservation, storage, destruction, or other disposition of the records of each district is subject to the requirements of Chapter 201, Local Government Code, and rules adopted thereunder. (13667)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (13668)

Sec. 36.066. SUITS. (13669)(1-click HTML)

(a) A district may sue and be sued in the courts of this state in the name of the district by and through its board. A district board member is immune from suit and immune from liability for official votes and official actions. To the extent an official vote or official action conforms to laws relating to conflicts of interest, abuse of office, or constitutional obligations, this subsection provides immunity for those actions. All courts shall take judicial notice of the creation of the district and of its boundaries. (13670)

(b) Any court in the state rendering judgment for debt against a district may order the board to levy, assess, and collect taxes or assessments to pay the judgment. (13671)

(c) The president or the general manager of any district shall be the agent of the district on whom process, notice, or demand required or permitted by law to be served upon a district may be served. (13672)

(d) Except as provided in Subsection (e), no suit may be instituted in any court of this state contesting: (13673)

(1) the validity of the creation and boundaries of a district; (13674)

(2) any bonds or other obligations issued by a district; or (13675)

(3) the validity or the authorization of a contract with the United States by a district. (13676)

(e) The matters listed in Subsection (d) may be judicially inquired into at any time and determined in any suit brought by the State of Texas through the attorney general. The action shall be brought on good cause shown, except where otherwise provided by other provisions of this code or by the Texas Constitution. It is specifically provided, however, that no such proceeding shall affect the validity of or security for any bonds or other obligations theretofore issued by a district if such bonds or other obligations have been approved by the attorney general. (13677)

(f) A district shall not be required to give bond for appeal, injunction, or costs in any suit to which it is a party and shall not be required to deposit more than the amount of any award in any eminent domain proceeding. (13678)

(g) If the district prevails in any suit other than a suit in which it voluntarily intervenes, the district may seek and the court shall grant, in the interests of justice and as provided by Subsection (h), in the same action, recovery for attorney's fees, costs for expert witnesses, and other costs incurred by the district before the court. The amount of the attorney's fees shall be fixed by the court. (13679)

(h) If the district prevails on some, but not all, of the issues in the suit, the court shall award attorney's fees and costs only for those issues on which the district prevails. The district has the burden of segregating the attorney's fees and costs in order for the court to make an award. (13680)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.43, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13681)

Amended by: (13682)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 464 (H.B. 3163), Sec. 2, eff. June 15, 2015. (13683)

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 993 (H.B. 200), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2015. (13684)

Sec. 36.067. CONTRACTS. (13685)(1-click HTML)

(a) A district shall contract, and be contracted with, in the name of the district. (13686)

(b) A district may purchase property from any other governmental entity by negotiated contract without the necessity of securing appraisals or advertising for bids. (13687)

(c) A district may use the reverse auction procedure, as defined by Section 2155.062(d), Government Code, for purchasing. (13688)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 436, Sec. 8, eff. May 28, 2001. (13689)

Sec. 36.068. EMPLOYEE BENEFITS. (13690)(1-click HTML)

(a) The board may provide for and administer retirement, disability, and death compensation funds for the employees of the district. (13691)

(b) The board may establish a public retirement system in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 810, Government Code. The board may also provide for a deferred compensation plan described by Section 457 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. Section 457). (13692)

(c) The board may include hospitalization and medical benefits to its employees as part of the compensation paid to the officers and employees and may adopt any plan, rule, or regulation in connection with it and amend or change the plan, rule, or regulation as it may determine. (13693)

(d) The board may establish a sick leave pool for employees of the district in the same manner as that authorized for the creation of a sick leave pool for state employees by Subchapter A, Chapter 661, Government Code. (13694)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1354, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1999. (13695)

SUBCHAPTER D. POWERS AND DUTIES (13696)(1-click HTML)
Sec. 36.101. RULEMAKING POWER. (13697)(1-click HTML)

(a) A district may make and enforce rules, including rules limiting groundwater production based on tract size or the spacing of wells, to provide for conserving, preserving, protecting, and recharging of the groundwater or of a groundwater reservoir or its subdivisions in order to control subsidence, prevent degradation of water quality, or prevent waste of groundwater and to carry out the powers and duties provided by this chapter. In adopting a rule under this chapter, a district shall: (13698)

(1) consider all groundwater uses and needs; (13699)

(2) develop rules that are fair and impartial; (13700)

(3) consider the groundwater ownership and rights described by Section 36.002; (13701)

(4) consider the public interest in conservation, preservation, protection, recharging, and prevention of waste of groundwater, and of groundwater reservoirs or their subdivisions, and in controlling subsidence caused by withdrawal of groundwater from those groundwater reservoirs or their subdivisions, consistent with the objectives of Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution; (13702)

(5) consider the goals developed as part of the district's management plan under Section 36.1071; and (13703)

(6) not discriminate between land that is irrigated for production and land that was irrigated for production and enrolled or participating in a federal conservation program. (13704)

(a-1) Any rule of a district that discriminates between land that is irrigated for production and land that was irrigated for production and enrolled or participating in a federal conservation program is void. (13705)

(b) Except as provided by Section 36.1011, after notice and hearing, the board shall adopt and enforce rules to implement this chapter, including rules governing procedure before the board. (13706)

(c) The board shall compile its rules and make them available for use and inspection at the district's principal office. (13707)

(d) Not later than the 20th day before the date of a rulemaking hearing, the general manager or board shall: (13708)

(1) post notice in a place readily accessible to the public at the district office; (13709)

(2) provide notice to the county clerk of each county in the district; (13710)

(3) publish notice in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the county or counties in which the district is located; (13711)

(4) provide notice by mail, facsimile, or electronic mail to any person who has requested notice under Subsection (i); and (13712)

(5) make available a copy of all proposed rules at a place accessible to the public during normal business hours and, if the district has a website, post an electronic copy on a generally accessible Internet site. (13713)

(e) The notice provided under Subsection (d) must include: (13714)

(1) the time, date, and location of the rulemaking hearing; (13715)

(2) a brief explanation of the subject of the rulemaking hearing; and (13716)

(3) a location or Internet site at which a copy of the proposed rules may be reviewed or copied. (13717)

(f) The presiding officer shall conduct a rulemaking hearing in the manner the presiding officer determines to be most appropriate to obtain information and comments relating to the proposed rule as conveniently and expeditiously as possible. Comments may be submitted orally at the hearing or in writing. The presiding officer may hold the record open for a specified period after the conclusion of the hearing to receive additional written comments. (13718)

(g) A district may require each person who participates in a rulemaking hearing to submit a hearing registration form stating: (13719)

(1) the person's name; (13720)

(2) the person's address; and (13721)

(3) whom the person represents, if the person is not at the hearing in the person's individual capacity. (13722)

(h) The presiding officer shall prepare and keep a record of each rulemaking hearing in the form of an audio or video recording or a court reporter transcription. (13723)

(i) A person may submit to the district a written request for notice of a rulemaking hearing. A request is effective for the remainder of the calendar year in which the request is received by the district. To receive notice of a rulemaking hearing in a later year, a person must submit a new request. An affidavit of an officer or employee of the district establishing attempted service by first class mail, facsimile, or e-mail to the person in accordance with the information provided by the person is proof that notice was provided by the district. (13724)

(j) A district may use an informal conference or consultation to obtain the opinions and advice of interested persons about contemplated rules and may appoint advisory committees of experts, interested persons, or public representatives to advise the district about contemplated rules. (13725)

(k) Failure to provide notice under Subsection (d)(4) does not invalidate an action taken by the district at a rulemaking hearing. (13726)

(l) Subsections (b)-(k) do not apply to the Edwards Aquifer Authority. (13727)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.44, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13728)

Amended by: (13729)

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 970 (H.B. 1763), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2005. (13730)

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1116 (H.B. 2423), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2005. (13731)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1207 (S.B. 332), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2011. (13732)

Sec. 36.1011. EMERGENCY RULES. (13733)(1-click HTML)

(a) A board may adopt an emergency rule without prior notice or hearing, or with an abbreviated notice and hearing, if the board: (13734)

(1) finds that a substantial likelihood of imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare, or a requirement of state or federal law, requires adoption of a rule on less than 20 days' notice; and (13735)

(2) prepares a written statement of the reasons for its finding under Subdivision (1). (13736)

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), a rule adopted under this section may not be effective for longer than 90 days. (13737)

(c) If notice of a hearing on the final rule is given not later than the 90th day after the date the rule is adopted, the rule is effective for an additional 90 days. (13738)

(d) A rule adopted under this section must be adopted at a meeting held as provided by Chapter 551, Government Code. (13739)

(e) This section does not apply to the Edwards Aquifer Authority. (13740)

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 970 (H.B. 1763), Sec. 4, eff. September 1, 2005. (13741)

Sec. 36.102. ENFORCEMENT OF RULES. (13742)(1-click HTML)

(a) A district may enforce this chapter and its rules against any person by injunction, mandatory injunction, or other appropriate remedy in a court of competent jurisdiction. (13743)

(b) The board by rule may set reasonable civil penalties against any person for breach of any rule of the district not to exceed $10,000 per day per violation, and each day of a continuing violation constitutes a separate violation. (13744)

(c) A penalty under this section is in addition to any other penalty provided by the law of this state and may be enforced against any person by complaints filed in the appropriate court of jurisdiction in the county in which the district's principal office or meeting place is located. (13745)

(d) If the district prevails in any suit to enforce its rules, the district may seek and the court shall grant against any person, in the same action, recovery for attorney's fees, costs for expert witnesses, and other costs incurred by the district before the court. The amount of the attorney's fees shall be fixed by the court. (13746)

(e) In an enforcement action by a district against any person that is a governmental entity for a violation of district rules, the limits on the amount of fees, costs, and penalties that a district may impose under Section 36.122, 36.205, or this section, or under a special law governing a district operating under this chapter, constitute a limit of liability of the governmental entity for the violation. This subsection shall not be construed to prohibit the recovery by a district of fees and costs under Subsection (d) in an action against any person that is a governmental entity. (13747)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 548, Sec. 2, eff. June 11, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 966, Sec. 2.45, eff. Sept. 1, 2001. (13748)

Amended by: (13749)

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 425 (H.B. 2063), Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 2009. (13750)

Sec. 36.103. IMPROVEMENTS AND FACILITIES. (13751)(1-click HTML)

(a) A district may build, acquire, or obtain by any lawful means any property necessary for the district to carry out its purpose and the provisions of this chapter. (13752)

(b) A district may: (13753)

(1) acquire land to erect dams or to drain lakes, draws, and depressions; (13754)

(2) construct dams; (13755)

(3) drain lakes, depressions, draws, and creeks; (13756)

(4) install pumps and other equipment necessary to recharge a groundwater reservoir or its subdivision; and (13757)

(5) provide necessary facilities for water conservation purposes. (13758)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 560, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (13759)

Sec. 36.104. PURCHASE, SALE, TRANSPORTATION, AND DISTRIBUTION OF WATER. (13760)(1-click HTML)

A district may purchase, sell, transport, and distribute surface water or groundwater. (13761)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 560, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (13762)

Sec. 36.105. EMINENT DOMAIN. (13763)(1-click HTML)

(a) A district may exercise the power of eminent domain to acquire by condemnation a fee simple or other interest in property if that property interest is: (13764)

(1) within the boundaries of the district; and (13765)

(2) necessary for conservation purposes, including recharge and reuse. (13766)

(b) The power of eminent domain authorized in this section may not be used for the condemnation of land for the purpose of: (13767)

(1) acquiring rights to groundwater, surface water or water rights; or (13768)

(2) production, sale, or distribution of groundwater or surface water. (13769)

(c) The district must exercise the power of eminent domain in the manner provided by Chapter 21, Property Code, but the district is not required to deposit a bond as provided by Section 21.021(a), Property Code. (13770)

(d) In a condemnation proceeding brought by a district, the district is not required to pay in advance or give bond or other security for costs in the trial court, to give bond for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or a temporary injunction, or to give bond for costs or supersedeas on an appeal or writ of error. (13771)

(e) In exercising the power of eminent domain, if the district requires relocating, raising, lowering, rerouting, changing the grade, or altering the construction of any railroad, highway, pipeline, or electric transmission or distribution, telegraph, or telephone lines, conduits, poles, or facilities, the district must bear the actual cost of relocating, raising, lowering, rerouting, changing the grade, or altering the construction to provide comparable replacement without enhancement of facilities after deducting the net salvage value derived from the old facility. (13772)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 560, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (13773)

Sec. 36.106. SURVEYS. (13774)(1-click HTML)

A district may make surveys of the groundwater reservoir or subdivision and surveys of the facilities in order to determine the quantity of water available for production and use and to determine the improvements, development, and recharging needed by a reservoir or its subdivision. (13775)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 560, Sec. 4, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. (13776)

Sec. 36.107. RESEARCH. (13777)(1-click HTML)

A district may carry out any research projects deemed necessary by the board. (13778)

Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 933, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1010, Sec. 4.28, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. (13779)

Sec. 36.1071. MANAGEMENT PLAN. (13780)(1-click HTML)

(a) Following notice and hearing, the district shall, in coordination with surface water management entities on a regional basis, develop a management plan that addresses the following management goals, as applicable: (13781)

(1) providing the most efficient use of groundwater; (13782)

(2) controlling and preventing waste of groundwater; (13783)

(3) controlling and preventing subsidence; (13784)

(4) addressing conjunctive surface water management issues; (13785)

(5) addressing natural resource issues; (13786)

(6) addressing drought conditions; (13787)

(7) addressing conservation, recharge enhancement, rainwater harvesting, precipitation enhancement, or brush control, where appropriate and cost-effective; and (13788)

(8) addressing the desired future conditions adopted by the district under Section 36.108. (13789)

(b) The management plan, or any amendments to the plan, shall be developed using the district's best available data and forwarded to the regional water planning group for use in their planning process. (13790)

(c) The commission and the Texas Water Development Board shall provide technical assistance to a district in the development of the management plan required under Subsection (a) which may include, if requested by the district, a preliminary review and comment on the plan prior to final approval by the board. If such review and comment by the commission is requested, the commission shall provide comment not later than 30 days from the date the request is received. (13791)

(d) The commission shall provide technical assistance to a district during its initial operational phase. If requested by a district, the Texas Water Development Board shall train the district on basic data collection methodology and provide technical assistance to districts. (13792)

(e) In the management plan described under Subsection (a), the district shall: (13793)

(1) identify the performance standards and management objectives under which the district will operate to achieve the management goals identified under Subsection (a); (13794)

(2) specify, in as much detail as possible, the actions, procedures, performance, and avoidance that are or may be necessary to effect the plan, including specifications and proposed rules; (13795)

(3) include estimates of the following: (13796)

(A) modeled available groundwater in the district based on the desired future condition established under Section 36.108; (13797)

(B) the amount of groundwater being used within the district on an annual basis; (13798)

  

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