Austin, Texas
Revision 1
May 18, 2005

Honorable Robert Puente, Chair, House Committee on Natural Resources
John S. O'Brien, Deputy Director, Legislative Budget Board
SB967 by Fraser (Relating to the creation of the Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District; providing authority to impose a tax and issue bonds; granting the power of eminent domain.), As Engrossed

The Legislative Budget Board in cooperation with the Water Development Board (TWDB) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), has determined the following:



Subject to a confirmation election, the bill creates the Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District (District) in Burnet County providing for the powers, duties, administration, operations and financing of the District. The bill authorizes the District with specific powers and duties and with those of Texas Water Code, Chapter 36, related to the general law for Groundwater Conservation Districts (GCDs).


1) Population- The Burnet County population projections to be used in the 2006 Lower Colorado Region (K) water Plan show significant growth from a 2000 population of 34,147 to 41,924 in 2010


2) Location & Size- The District’s boundaries would be coextensive with the boundaries of Burnet County.


3) Powers- Similar to general law GCDs under Texas Water Code, Chapter 36 with some additions as noted below.


4) District Finances- Same as general law GCDs under Texas Water Code, Chapter 36, including issuance of bonds and notes, and assessment of production fees, export fees, and administrative fees. As in general law, levying of ad-valorem taxes is permitted if approved by the voters and could not exceed a rate of 5-cents for each $100 of assessed evaluation.


5) Board of Directors- General law GCDs under Texas Water Code, Chapter 36, have 5 to 11 directors elected by the general precinct method. The District would be governed by a board of five directors with one director representing each county commissioner precinct, and one director representing the county at-large. Temporary directors are appointed and are responsible for scheduling and conducting the District's confirmation election. Four temporary directors are appointed by the Commissioners Court of Burnet County and one temporary director is appointed by the County Judge of Burnet County. The temporary directors become the initial directors if the District is confirmed by the voters. The initial directors representing precincts 2 and 4 would serve until June 1 of the first even-numbered year after the District is confirmed by election, and the initial directors representing precincts 1, 3, and the county at-large would serve until June 1 of the second even-numbered year after the District is confirmed by election. In May of the first even-numbered year after the year in which the District is confirmed by election, two permanent directors would be elected to four-year terms. The appropriate number of directors would then be elected in May of each subsequent second year with the newly elected permanent directors serving four-year terms.


6) Eminent Domain- Same as general law GCDs under Texas Water Code, Chapter 36, the District is authorized to exercise the power of eminent domain.


7) Ability to Tax- The levy of ad-valorem taxes for the repayment of bonds or notes, or operations and maintenance is permitted if confirmed by the voters in an election.


8) Overlapping Services- There are no other GCDs in Burnet County. The primary functions of GCDs are conservation and management of groundwater resources through data collection, rules and well permitting within their boundaries. These functions do not conflict with the services provided by the overlapping water utilities and districts. The District’s boundaries include the service areas of other water utilities and districts with Certificates of Convenience and Necessity (CCN). The other known overlapping water supply or sewer-service corporations, investor-owned utilities, or local water districts or authorities are Aquasource Development Co., CCN No. 12902; Aquasource Utility Inc., CCN Nos. 11157 and 20453; Austin Aqua Systems, CCN No. 12722; Bertram Woods Property Owners Asso. Inc.; Buena Vista Water System, CCN No. 11656; Cassie Water System, CCN No. 11663; Channel Oaks Water System, CCN No. 12109; Chisholm Trail SUD, CCN No. 11590; City of Bertram, CCN Nos. 10442 and 20161; City of Burnet, CCN Nos. 10438 and 20158; City of Cottonwood Shores; City of Granite Shoals, CCN No. 11450; City of Marble Falls, CCN Nos. 11137 and 20426; Copano Heights Water Company, CCN No. 11960; Council Creek Inc., CCN No. 11118; Deer Springs Water Co., CCN No. 11630; Eagle Bluff Asso. Inc., CCN No. 12358; Hamilton Creek WSC, CCN No. 12958; Highland Utilities Inc., CCN No. 12334; Jones Owen, CCN No. 11116; Kempner WSC, CCN No. 10456; Kingsland MUD, CCN No. 20173; Kingsland WSC, CCN No. 12217; Lake LBJ MUD; Lower Colorado River Authority, CCN Nos. 11671 and 20769; Meadowlakes MUD; N R WSC; River Oaks Water System, CCN No. 11172; S H WSC, CCN No. 13033; Silver Creek Village WSC, CCN No. 11709; Skyline Terrace Subdivision, CCN No. 11418; Sunset Hills Subdivision, CCN No. 11483; Vista Del Rio Property Owners Asso. Inc., CCN No. 12662; Windermere Oaks WSC, CCN Nos. 12011 and 20662; Brazos River Authority; Horseshoe Bay WCID 1; and, Lake Lyndon B Johnson MUD 2.


9) Ability to Exclude Territory- As with general law for GCDs, there are no provisions to exclude territory from the District. Unlike general law GCDs for which there are no dissolution provisions, the District may be dissolved if at least 50 percent of the registered voters petition the board of directors to do so. If so petitioned, the board must call an election for that purpose and a majority vote for that purpose would dissolve the District.


10) Adequacy of Boundary Description- The District’s boundaries would be the same as the county boundaries of Burnet County and form a closure. The District is located in Groundwater Management Area 8 designated by the Texas Water Development Board primarily for the northern Trinity aquifer. Burnet County is not, currently, located within a Priority Groundwater Management Area designated by the TCEQ.


11) Comments on Powers /Duties Different from Similar Types of Districts- Unlike general law GCDs under Texas Water Code, Chapter 36, the District is specifically authorized to regulate man-made excavations which are defined as a quarry, open pit mine, or similar cut into the surface of the ground made by a person. Similar to general law GCDs, the District is required to consider if proposed new uses of groundwater will unreasonably affect surrounding landowners. Unlike general law GCDs, the District may require a permit for any activity that extracts groundwater or allows more than 25,000 gallons of groundwater per day to escape, whether through a well or a man-made excavation. Under Water Code, Chapter 36, wells used solely for domestic, livestock, or poultry on a tract of land larger than 10 acres that cannot produce 25,000 gallons per day; wells used to supply oil or gas exploration rigs permitted by the Railroad Commission of Texas; and, wells authorized under a permit issued by the Railroad Commission of Texas required for mining activities are exempt from general law GCD permitting provisions and regulation. Unlike general law GCDs, the District is authorized to impose additional requirements and limitations on permits to transfer groundwater out of the District if the transfers would negatively impact permit holders or other groundwater users in the District. Under Texas Water Code, Chapter 36, general law GCDs may not impose more restrictive permit conditions on transporters than on existing in-district users. The bill provides the Act would take effect immediately if passed by a two-thirds majority in each house. If passed otherwise, the Act would take effect September 1, 2005. The District would be dissolved on September 1, 2007, if it is not confirmed by the voters by this date, and Special District Local Laws Code, Chapter 8810 would then expire on September 1, 2010.


12) TCEQ’s Supervision- Same as for general law GCDs, including bond review authority. The TCEQ’s supervision authority as it is related to the District’s development and implementation of a management plan would be the same as for general law GCDs. As with general law GCDs, the District would not have to comply with TCEQ financial auditing requirements.


13) State Water Plan Objectives- Water Use:  Within Burnet County, 33 percent of the total water use was groundwater in the year 2000. Sixty-one percent of the groundwater use was for municipal purposes. The proposed district would be partially located over the Trinity Aquifer. The county’s total water use to be included in the 2007 State Water Plan is projected to grow from a year 2000 total of 9,158 acre feet of use to 10,665 acre feet of use in 2050.


Board staff finds that creation of the proposed district is not in conflict with the State Water Plan objectives of promoting the efficient use of local groundwater resources and the implementation of practices and programs to effectively manage local groundwater resources.




Source Agencies:
582 Commission on Environmental Quality, 580 Water Development Board
LBB Staff: