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Texas Laws | Water Code

WATER CODE (1)(Text)


Updated: 08/03/2018 at 22:14:46. Including revisions from the 2017 Texas Legislature. (3)



An entity governed by this code and authorized by law to exercise the power of eminent domain may only exercise the power for a public use in accordance with Section 17, Article I, Texas Constitution. (6)

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 92 (S.B. 655), Sec. 2, eff. May 18, 2013. (7)

Sec. 1.001. PURPOSE OF CODE. (9)(Text)

(a) This code is enacted as a part of the state's continuing statutory revision program, begun by the Texas Legislative Council in 1963 as directed by the legislature in Chapter 448, Acts of the 58th Legislature, Regular Session, 1963 (Article 5429b-1, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes). The program contemplates a topic-by-topic revision of the state's general and permanent statute law without substantive change. (10)

(b) Consistent with the objectives of the statutory revision program, the purpose of this code is to make the general and permanent water law more accessible and understandable, by: (11)

(1) rearranging the statutes into a more logical order; (12)

(2) employing a format and numbering system designed to facilitate citation of the law and to accommodate future expansion of the law; (13)

(3) eliminating repealed, duplicative, unconstitutional, expired, executed, and other ineffective provisions; and (14)

(4) restating the law in modern American English to the greatest extent possible. (15)

(c) This restatement shall not in any way make any changes in the substantive laws of the State of Texas. (16)

(d) Laws of a local or special nature, such as statutes creating various kinds of conservation and reclamation districts, are not included in, or affected by, this code. The legislature believes that persons interested in these local and special laws may rely on the session laws and on compilations of these laws. (17)

Acts 1971, 62nd Leg., p. 110, ch. 58, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1971. (18)

Sec. 1.002. CONSTRUCTION OF CODE. (19)(Text)

(a) The Code Construction Act (Chapter 311, Government Code) applies to the construction of each provision in this code, except as otherwise expressly provided by this code. (20)

(b) In this code: (21)

(1) a reference to a title, chapter, or section without further identification is a reference to a title, chapter, or section of this code; and (22)

(2) a reference to a subtitle, subchapter, subsection, subdivision, paragraph, or other numbered or lettered unit without further identification is a reference to a unit of the next larger unit of this code in which the reference appears. (23)

(c) A reference in a law to a statute or part of a statute revised by this code is considered to be a reference to the part of this code that revises that statute or part of the statute. (24)

Acts 1971, 62nd Leg., p. 110, ch. 58, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1971. Amended by Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 479, Sec. 74, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 715, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995. (25)

Sec. 1.003. PUBLIC POLICY. (26)(Text)

It is the public policy of the state to provide for the conservation and development of the state's natural resources, including: (27)

(1) the control, storage, preservation, and distribution of the state's storm and floodwaters and the waters of its rivers and streams for irrigation, power, and other useful purposes; (28)

(2) the reclamation and irrigation of the state's arid, semiarid, and other land needing irrigation; (29)

(3) the reclamation and drainage of the state's overflowed land and other land needing drainage; (30)

(4) the conservation and development of its forest, water, and hydroelectric power; (31)

(5) the navigation of the state's inland and coastal waters; (32)

(6) the maintenance of a proper ecological environment of the bays and estuaries of Texas and the health of related living marine resources; (33)

(7) the voluntary stewardship of public and private lands to benefit waters of the state; and (34)

(8) the promotion of rainwater harvesting for potable and nonpotable purposes at public and private facilities in this state, including residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. (35)

Acts 1971, 62nd Leg., p. 110, ch. 58, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1971. Amended by Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 925, ch. 344, Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 1975. (36)

Amended by: (37)

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1352 (H.B. 4), Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 2007. (38)

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1430 (S.B. 3), Sec. 2.01, eff. September 1, 2007. (39)

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1311 (H.B. 3391), Sec. 7, eff. September 1, 2011. (40)


(a) The legislature finds that voluntary land stewardship enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of this state's watersheds by helping to increase surface water and groundwater supplies, resulting in a benefit to the natural resources of this state and to the general public. It is therefore the policy of this state to encourage voluntary land stewardship as a significant water management tool. (42)

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