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The Water Update

The Water Update is a collaboration between the Texas Tribune and Texas Water Journal covering key upcoming meetings and events, important personnel moves, and significant developments with regard to water at the Texas Legislature and water agencies.

Cypress Creek in downtown Wimberley.

*Editor's note: The Texas Senate Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs Committee and the Texas House Natural Resources Committee will continue to meet over the next two weeks. However, as the end of the 85th session of the Texas Legislature approaches, their schedules become less predictable.

Wednesday, May 17

  • Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, Board of Directors Meeting; 905 Nolan St., Seguin (10 a.m.)
  • San Antonio River Authority, Board of Directors Meeting; 100 E. Guenther St., San Antonio (2 p.m.)

Thursday, May 18 

  • Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan Implementing Committee; 170 Charles Austin Drive, San Marcos (9 a.m.)
  • Region E (Far West Texas) Regional Planning Group; El Paso County Water Improvement District #1 Headquarters, 13247 Alameda Ave., Clint (1:30 p.m.)

Monday, May 22

  • North Central Texas Council of Governments, Region C Water Planning Group Meeting; 616 Six Flags Drive, Arlington (1 p.m.)

Thursday, May 25

  • Groundwater Management Area 12 Joint Planning Meeting; Oak Savannah GCD Offices, 310 East Ave. C (Highway 79), Milano (10 a.m.)
  • North Texas Municipal Water District, Work Session & Board Meeting; 501 E. Brown St., Wylie (4 p.m.) 
  • Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District Meeting; 1124 Regal Row, Austin (6 p.m.)

85th Texas Legislature — Water Legislation of Note:

Many bills died in the House at midnight last Thursday. Among these were a series of bills relating to aquifer storage and recovery within, and the discharge of surface water effluent in and above the Edwards Aquifer: HB 2867, HB 3036, HB 3333, and HB 3467.

Here are a selection of bills that have moved forward over the last two weeks:

HB 544 (C. Anderson), allows the rural water assistance fund to be used for water planning. Passed by the Senate and then passed on Friday’s House Local and Uncontested Calendar.

HB 1648 (Price), authorizes a retail public water utility to designate an employee as the water conservation coordinator responsible for implementing the water conservation plan. Passed by Senate Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs Committee.

HB 2215 (Price), requires regional water planning groups to submit to the Texas Water Development Board a regional water plan that is consistent with the desired future conditions most recently adopted for relevant aquifers located in the area that includes opportunities for large-scale desalination facilities for marine seawater or brackish groundwater. Passed by the House and sent to Senate Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs Committee.

HB 3085 (Keough), requires the Geo-Technology Research Institute to conduct a study on the monitoring, prevention, and removal of floating trash. Passed by the House.

HB 3735 (Frank), requires a water rights application to be accompanied by a map or plat on a form prescribed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Passed by the House.

HB 3991 (Larson), allows an aquifer storage and recovery project to involve the use of water derived from multiple sources, including a new appropriation of water. Passed by the House.

SB 696 (Perry), requires the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to develop updated water availability models (WAMs) for the Brazos, Guadalupe, San Antonio and Trinity River basins by December 1, 2020. Passed by the Senate. Sent to House Natural Resources.

SB 1045 (Estes), allows Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to consolidate the notice of intent to obtain a permit with the notice of preliminary decision into one notice. Passed by House Environmental Regulation Committee.

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