82R7510 PMO-F
  By: Duncan S.B. No. 667
  relating to the management of groundwater resources in this state
  and the rights of landowners in groundwater.
  legislature finds that the availability of quality groundwater has
  been, is, and will continue to be vital to the proliferation of
  life, the sustainment of communities, and the protection of the
  public safety and welfare, as well as to the success of agricultural
  production, economic progress, and other equally compelling public
  interests.  In Chapter 36, Water Code, the legislature has
  recognized, and continues to preserve, the significant ownership
  interests that owners of land in this state have in the groundwater
  resources that can be obtained from below the surface of their
  properties.  The common law focuses on limiting liability for
  drainage rather than protecting these ownership interests and, in
  the process, defeats the settled expectations that landowners can
  reasonably have in the long-term viability of groundwater below
  their properties.  In addition to acknowledging the significant
  ownership interests that landowners have in the groundwater below
  their properties, the legislature further recognizes the
  indefeasible right, borne by Section 59, Article XVI, Texas
  Constitution, that is possessed by every Texas citizen to the
  preservation and conservation of groundwater resources underlying
  the private and public lands of this state. The ownership interests
  that landowners have in the groundwater below their properties are
  accordingly subject to reasonable regulation by the state. To
  balance the often competing demands and interests in available
  groundwater and to carry out the constitutionally mandated duty
  placed upon it and entrusted to it by the citizens of this state,
  the legislature finds that the implementation of long-term aquifer
  planning and management strategies is essential. In recognition of
  the diverse characteristics that distinguish the many groundwater
  aquifers in this state, and in order that this vital resource may
  best be committed to good stewardship, the legislature finds that
  the development and implementation of these groundwater management
  strategies are best accomplished through local control, exercised
  through groundwater conservation districts.  Therefore, the
  legislature recognizes that all reasonable measures should be taken
  to prudently manage, preserve, conserve, and protect the
  groundwater resources that underlie the private and public lands in
  this state for uses today and in the future.
         SECTION 2.  Section 36.0015, Water Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         Sec. 36.0015.  PURPOSE. Groundwater conservation districts
  may be created under and may act in accordance with this chapter in
  [In] order to provide for the conservation, preservation,
  protection, recharging, and prevention of waste of groundwater, and
  of the many unique groundwater reservoirs and reservoir [or their]
  subdivisions in this state, and to control subsidence caused by
  withdrawal of water from those groundwater reservoirs or their
  subdivisions, consistent with the objectives and mandates 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
  through rules and management plans developed, adopted, and
  promulgated by a district in accordance with the provisions of this
         SECTION 3.  Section 36.002, Water Code, is amended to read as
         Sec. 36.002.  OWNERSHIP OF GROUNDWATER. (a)  The ownership
  and rights of the owners of the land and their lessees and assigns
  in groundwater are hereby recognized, including the right to seek
  and attempt to capture groundwater that underlies the surface of
  the land, and nothing in this code shall be construed as depriving
  or divesting the owners or their lessees and assigns of the
  ownership or rights, except as those rights may be limited or
  altered by rules promulgated by a district acting in accordance
  with the district's statutory powers and duties.
         (b)  The prudent and effective management of groundwater
  resources is necessary and beneficial to the welfare of this state
  and, therefore, serves a compelling public interest.  The rights of
  the citizenry to the preservation and conservation of groundwater
  resources underlying the public and private lands of this state
  are, accordingly, hereby recognized and accommodated through the
  powers delegated pursuant to this chapter.
         (c)  The recognition of rights under Subsection (a) shall not
  be construed to prohibit the reasonable regulation, preservation,
  and conservation of groundwater by a district. A district may
  develop limits on the production of groundwater that affect the
  availability of permits issued by the district if the limitations
               (1)  reasonable and warranted under the district's
  management plan;
               (2)  consistent with the desired future conditions
  adopted under Section 36.108;
               (3)  not designed so that the limitations prevent a
  landowner from accessing a reasonable amount of water for livestock
  watering or domestic purposes for use on the landowner's property;
               (4)  implemented in accordance with the authority
  granted by this chapter or a special law governing a district.
         (d)  A rule promulgated by a district may not discriminate
  between owners of land that is irrigated for production and owners
  of land or their lessees and assigns whose land that was irrigated
  for production is enrolled or participating in a federal
  conservation program.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2011.