By: Larson, et al. (Senate Sponsor - Perry) H.B. No. 30
         (In the Senate - Received from the House May 11, 2015;
  May 14, 2015, read first time and referred to Committee on
  Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs; May 24, 2015, reported
  favorably by the following vote:  Yeas 6, Nays 0; May 24, 2015,
  sent to printer.)
Click here to see the committee vote
  relating to the development of seawater and brackish groundwater.
         SECTION 1.  (a)  With this state facing an ongoing drought,
  continuing population growth, and the need to remain economically
  competitive, this state must secure and develop plentiful and
  cost-effective water supplies to meet the ever-increasing demand
  for water.
         (b)  Brackish groundwater is a potential new source of water
  for municipal, industrial, and other purposes. This state has an
  estimated 880 trillion gallons of brackish groundwater, much of
  which is untapped. For many years this water was considered largely
  useless for most purposes, but advances in technology and pressures
  on other supplies have revealed that brackish groundwater is in
  fact a vital resource. In addition to providing potentially vast
  new supplies, the development of brackish groundwater can reduce
  pressures on the use of fresh groundwater.
         (c)  Many in the oil and gas industry in this state have made
  significant strides to replace the use of fresh groundwater in
  their operations with brackish groundwater. This is a positive
  trend, and this Act is not intended to discourage the continued or
  expanded use of brackish groundwater for oil and gas development or
  to establish regulatory barriers or permitting requirements for the
  use of brackish groundwater for that purpose.
         (d)  The purpose of this Act is to provide meaningful
  incentives for the development of brackish groundwater in areas
  where that development would have a minimal impact on existing
  fresh groundwater use, while respecting private property rights in
  groundwater and continuing to encourage the use of brackish
  groundwater for purposes other than human consumption.
         SECTION 2.  Section 16.053(e), Water Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (e)  Each regional water planning group shall submit to the
  development board a regional water plan that:
               (1)  is consistent with the guidance principles for the
  state water plan adopted by the development board under Section
               (2)  provides information based on data provided or
  approved by the development board in a format consistent with the
  guidelines provided by the development board under Subsection (d);
               (2-a)  is consistent with the desired future conditions
  adopted under Section 36.108 for the relevant aquifers located in
  the regional water planning area as of the date the board most
  recently adopted a state water plan under Section 16.051 or, at the
  option of the regional water planning group, established subsequent
  to the adoption of the most recent plan;
               (3)  identifies:
                     (A)  each source of water supply in the regional
  water planning area, including information supplied by the
  executive administrator on the amount of modeled available
  groundwater in accordance with the guidelines provided by the
  development board under Subsections (d) and (f);
                     (B)  factors specific to each source of water
  supply to be considered in determining whether to initiate a
  drought response;
                     (C)  actions to be taken as part of the response;
                     (D)  existing major water infrastructure
  facilities that may be used for interconnections in the event of an
  emergency shortage of water;
               (4)  has specific provisions for water management
  strategies to be used during a drought of record;
               (5)  includes but is not limited to consideration of
  the following:
                     (A)  any existing water or drought planning
  efforts addressing all or a portion of the region;
                     (B)  approved groundwater conservation district
  management plans and other plans submitted under Section 16.054;
                     (C)  all potentially feasible water management
  strategies, including but not limited to improved conservation,
  reuse, and management of existing water supplies, conjunctive use,
  acquisition of available existing water supplies, and development
  of new water supplies;
                     (D)  protection of existing water rights in the
                     (E)  opportunities for and the benefits of
  developing regional water supply facilities or providing regional
  management of water supply facilities;
                     (F)  appropriate provision for environmental
  water needs and for the effect of upstream development on the bays,
  estuaries, and arms of the Gulf of Mexico and the effect of plans on
                     (G)  provisions in Section 11.085(k)(1) if
  interbasin transfers are contemplated;
                     (H)  voluntary transfer of water within the region
  using, but not limited to, regional water banks, sales, leases,
  options, subordination agreements, and financing agreements; [and]
                     (I)  emergency transfer of water under Section
  11.139, including information on the part of each permit, certified
  filing, or certificate of adjudication for nonmunicipal use in the
  region that may be transferred without causing unreasonable damage
  to the property of the nonmunicipal water rights holder; and
                     (J)  opportunities for and the benefits of
  developing large-scale desalination facilities for seawater or
  brackish groundwater that serve local or regional brackish
  groundwater production zones identified and designated under
  Section 16.060(b)(5);
               (6)  identifies river and stream segments of unique
  ecological value and sites of unique value for the construction of
  reservoirs that the regional water planning group recommends for
  protection under Section 16.051;
               (7)  assesses the impact of the plan on unique river and
  stream segments identified in Subdivision (6) if the regional water
  planning group or the legislature determines that a site of unique
  ecological value exists;
               (8)  describes the impact of proposed water projects on
  water quality; and
               (9)  includes information on:
                     (A)  projected water use and conservation in the
  regional water planning area; and
                     (B)  the implementation of state and regional
  water plan projects, including water conservation strategies,
  necessary to meet the state's projected water demands.
         SECTION 3.  Section 16.060, Water Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (a) and (b) and adding Subsections (d) and (e)
  to read as follows:
         (a)  The board shall undertake or participate in research,
  feasibility and facility planning studies, investigations, and
  surveys as it considers necessary to further the development of
  cost-effective water supplies from seawater or brackish
  groundwater desalination in the state.
         (b)  The board shall prepare a biennial progress report on
  the implementation of seawater or brackish groundwater
  desalination activities in the state and shall submit it to the
  governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the house of
  representatives not later than December 1 of each even-numbered
  year. The report shall include:
               (1)  results of the board's studies and activities
  relative to seawater or brackish groundwater desalination during
  the preceding biennium;
               (2)  identification and evaluation of research,
  regulatory, technical, and financial impediments to the
  implementation of seawater or brackish groundwater desalination
               (3)  evaluation of the role the state should play in
  furthering the development of large-scale seawater or brackish
  groundwater desalination projects in the state; [and]
               (4)  the anticipated appropriation from general
  revenues necessary to continue investigating water desalination
  activities in the state during the next biennium; and
               (5)  identification and designation of local or
  regional brackish groundwater production zones in areas of the
  state with moderate to high availability and productivity of
  brackish groundwater that can be used to reduce the use of fresh
  groundwater and that:
                     (A)  are separated by hydrogeologic barriers
  sufficient to prevent significant impacts to water availability or
  water quality in any area of the same or other aquifers,
  subdivisions of aquifers, or geologic strata that have an average
  total dissolved solids level of 1,000 milligrams per liter or less
  at the time of designation of the zones; and
                     (B)  are not located in:
                           (i)  an area of the Edwards Aquifer subject
  to the jurisdiction of the Edwards Aquifer Authority;
                           (ii)  the boundaries of the:
                                 (a)  Barton Springs-Edwards Aquifer
  Conservation District;
                                 (b)  Harris-Galveston Subsidence
  District; or
                                 (c)  Fort Bend Subsidence District;
                           (iii)  an aquifer, subdivision of an
  aquifer, or geologic stratum that:
                                 (a)  has an average total dissolved
  solids level of more than 1,000 milligrams per liter; and
                                 (b)  is serving as a significant source
  of water supply for municipal, domestic, or agricultural purposes
  at the time of designation of the zones; or
                           (iv)  an area of a geologic stratum that is
  designated or used for wastewater injection through the use of
  injection wells or disposal wells permitted under Chapter 27.
         (d)  The board shall work together with groundwater
  conservation districts and stakeholders and shall consider the
  Brackish Groundwater Manual for Texas Regional Water Planning
  Groups, and any updates to the manual, and other relevant
  scientific data or findings when identifying and designating
  brackish groundwater production zones under Subsection (b)(5).
         (e)  In designating a brackish groundwater production zone
  under this section, the board shall:
               (1)  determine the amount of brackish groundwater that
  the zone is capable of producing over a 30-year period and a 50-year
  period without causing a significant impact to water availability
  or water quality as described by Subsection (b)(5)(A); and
               (2)  include in the designation description:
                     (A)  the amounts of brackish groundwater that the
  zone is capable of producing during the periods described by
  Subdivision (1); and
                     (B)  recommendations regarding reasonable
  monitoring to observe the effects of brackish groundwater
  production within the zone.
         SECTION 4.  (a)  The Texas Water Development Board shall
  include in the biennial progress report required by Section 16.060,
  Water Code, that is due not later than December 1, 2016, an
  identification and designation of brackish groundwater production
  zones as required by that section as amended by this Act for the
               (1) the portion of the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer located
  between the Colorado and Rio Grande Rivers;
               (2)  the Gulf Coast Aquifer and sediments bordering
  that aquifer;
               (3)  the Blaine Aquifer; and
               (4)  the Rustler Aquifer.
         (b)  Not later than December 1, 2022, the Texas Water
  Development Board shall identify and designate brackish
  groundwater production zones for areas of this state not described
  by Subsection (a) of this section.
         SECTION 5.  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, 2015.
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