Austin, Texas
April 12, 2009

Honorable Allan Ritter, Chair, House Committee on Natural Resources
John S. O'Brien, Director, Legislative Budget Board
HB4736 by Phillips (Relating to the creation of the Red River Groundwater Conservation District; providing authority to issue bonds.), As Introduced

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


The bill creates the Red River Groundwater Conservation District (District) in Fannin and Grayson Counties with the powers and duties of Water Code, Chapter 36 related to general law for groundwater conservation districts (GCDs).


The purpose of the District is to benefit property by providing for the conservation, preservation, protection, recharging, and prevention of waste of groundwater, and to control subsidence caused by the withdrawal of groundwater under powers conferred by Article XVI, Section 59 of the Texas Constitution.


If passed, the Act would take effect September 1, 2009.



1)     Population – According to the 2007 State Water Plan, Grayson County is projected to grow from a population of 110,595 in the year 2000 to 133, 913 in 2010 and to 163,711 in 2020.


Fannin County had a 2000 population of 31,242 and is projected to grow to 36,842 in 2010 and to 40,539 in 2020.


2)     Location – The district is a groundwater conservation district comprised of all the territory within Grayson and Fannin Counties.


3)  Comments on Powers/Duties Different from Similar Types of Districts – Unlike general law GCDs, a confirmation election is not required to create the District. The bill provides that Water Code, Chapter 36, Subchapter B, relating to Creation of District does not apply. The bill provides special provisions for the appointment of seven initial and permanent directors for the District who will serve staggered four-year terms. The bill provides that three directors are appointed by the Commissioners Court of Fannin County representing the county-wide, municipal, and special district and water supply corporation interests; two directors are appointed by a municipality in Grayson County with the largest annual production of groundwater for the preceding four years; one director is appointed by the other municipalities in Grayson County; and one director is appointed by the governing boards of the special districts and water supply corporations of Grayson County. The bill finds that the City of Sherman is the municipality in Grayson County with the largest annual groundwater production for the four years preceding the effective date. The bill provides that within 30 days of the effective date, the county judge of Fannin County shall convene and preside over a meeting to appoint the initial directors and to report the appointments to the executive director of the TCEQ. If the initial directors are not appointed within 90 days of the effective date, the bill provides that the executive director of the TCEQ perform any duties not performed by the county judge. The bill provides that a quorum of at least six directors is required to set fee rates, adopt a budge, or to render a decision on a permit to transport water outside of the District’s boundaries. The bill requires the District to provide a decennial report to its legislative representatives on the adequacy of director representation. District directors are not entitled to receive fees of office for performance of duties.


Existing water wells are exempt from District well spacing requirements. The District may require any new well or class of wells exempt from permitting to register the wells and comply with District spacing requirements. By rule, the District may require the owner or operator or a well or class of wells exempt from permitting to report groundwater usage, except for private domestic, livestock, or poultry water wells producing less than 25,000 gallons per day on a tract of land larger than ten acres. The District is provided authority to assess disincentive fee for enforcement remedy purposes. The District may not impose a tax to pay for operation and maintenance purposes. District well production fees for non-agricultural use are capped at $0.30 per 1,000 gallons. The District is authorized to establish, adopt, and enforce the collection of fees and establish and enforce metering and reporting requirements before the adoption of the District’s management plan.


4)  Overlapping Services – There are no other GCDs in Fannin or Grayson Counties. GCD functions do not conflict with services provided by other types of water districts or utilities.


5)  TCEQ’s Supervision – As with general law GCDs, the TCEQ will have general supervisory authority, including bond review authority and authority as it is related to the District’s development and implementation of a management plan. The District would not have to comply with TCEQ financial auditing requirements. 


6)     Water Use – Within Grayson County, 41 percent of the water used was groundwater in 2003.  Of this, about 70 percent was for municipal purposes.  The groundwater in Grayson County is drawn almost equally from the Woodbine and Trinity aquifers in 2003.


Within Fannin County, 23 percent of the water used was groundwater in 2000.  Of this, 58 percent was for municipal purposes.  Over 63 percent of the groundwater in Fannin County is pumped from the Woodbine Aquifer and 13 percent is pumped from the Trinity Aquifer.

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