Bill Text: TX HB27 | 2017 | 85th Legislature 1st Special Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to the development of brackish groundwater.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2017-08-07 - Received from the House [HB27 Detail]

Download: Texas-2017-HB27-Introduced.html
  85S10519 SLB-F
 
  By: Larson H.B. No. 27
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the development of brackish groundwater.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter D, Chapter 36, Water Code, is amended
  by adding Section 36.1015 to read as follows:
         Sec. 36.1015.  RULES FOR PERMITS IN BRACKISH GROUNDWATER
  PRODUCTION ZONES. (a)  In this section:
               (1)  "Designated brackish groundwater production zone" 
  means an aquifer, subdivision of an aquifer, or geologic stratum
  designated under Section 16.060(b)(5).
               (2)  "Development board" means the Texas Water
  Development Board.
               (3)  "Gulf Coast Aquifer" means the system of
  hydrogeologic units that run along the Gulf Coast from the Sabine
  River to the Rio Grande, including:
                     (A)  the Catahoula confining system, including
  the Frio Formation, the Anahuac Formation, and the Catahoula Tuff
  or Sandstone;
                     (B)  the Jasper Aquifer, including the Oakville
  Sandstone and Fleming Formation;
                     (C)  the Burkeville confining system separating
  the Jasper Aquifer from the Evangeline Aquifer;
                     (D)  the Evangeline Aquifer, including the Goliad
  Sand; and
                     (E)  the Chicot Aquifer, including the Willis
  Sand, the Bentley and Montgomery Formations, the Beaumont Clay, and
  alluvial deposits at the surface.
         (b)  A district located over any part of a designated
  brackish groundwater production zone may adopt rules to govern the
  issuance of permits for the completion and operation of a well for
  the withdrawal of brackish groundwater from a designated brackish
  groundwater production zone and shall adopt rules described by this
  subsection if the district receives a petition from a person with a
  legally defined interest in groundwater in the district. The
  district must adopt the rules not later than the 180th day after the
  date the district receives the petition. Rules adopted under this
  subsection apply only to a permit for a project described by
  Subsection (c).
         (c)  A person may obtain a permit under rules adopted under
  this section for the following projects:
               (1)  a municipal project designed to treat brackish
  groundwater to drinking water standards for the purpose of
  providing a public source of drinking water; and
               (2)  an electric generation project to treat brackish
  groundwater to water quality standards sufficient for the project
  needs.
         (d)  The rules adopted must:
               (1)  provide for processing an application for a
  brackish groundwater production zone operating permit in the same
  manner as an application for an operating permit for a fresh
  groundwater well, except as provided by this section;
               (2)  allow withdrawals and rates of withdrawal of
  brackish groundwater from a designated brackish groundwater
  production zone not to exceed and consistent with the withdrawal
  amounts identified in Section 16.060(e);
               (3)  provide for a minimum term of 30 years for a permit
  issued for a well that produces brackish groundwater from a
  designated brackish groundwater production zone;
               (4)  require implementation of a monitoring system
  recommended by the development board to monitor water levels and
  water quality in the same or an adjacent aquifer, subdivision of an
  aquifer, or geologic stratum in which the designated brackish
  groundwater production zone is located;
               (5)  for a project located in a designated brackish
  groundwater production zone in the Gulf Coast Aquifer, require
  reasonable monitoring by the district of land elevations to
  determine if production from the project is causing or is likely to
  cause subsidence during the permit term;
               (6)  require from the holder of a permit issued under
  rules adopted under this section annual reports that must include:
                     (A)  the amount of brackish groundwater
  withdrawn;
                     (B)  the average monthly water quality of the
  brackish groundwater withdrawn and in the monitoring wells; and
                     (C)  aquifer levels in both the designated
  brackish groundwater production zone and in any aquifer,
  subdivision of an aquifer, or geologic stratum for which the permit
  requires monitoring; and
               (7)  be consistent with and not impair property rights
  described by Sections 36.002(a) and (b).
         (e)  An application for a brackish groundwater production
  zone operating permit must include:
               (1)  the proposed well field design compared to the
  designated brackish groundwater production zone;
               (2)  the requested maximum groundwater withdrawal rate
  for the proposed project;
               (3)  the number and location of monitoring wells needed
  to determine the effects of the proposed project on water levels and
  water quality in the same or an adjacent aquifer, subdivision of an
  aquifer, or geologic stratum in which the designated brackish
  groundwater production zone is located; and
               (4)  a report that includes:
                     (A)  a simulation of the projected effects of the
  proposed production on water levels and water quality in the same or
  an adjacent aquifer, subdivision of an aquifer, or geologic stratum
  in which the designated brackish groundwater production zone is
  located;
                     (B)  a description of the model used for the
  simulation described by Paragraph (A); and
                     (C)  sufficient information for a technical
  reviewer to understand the parameters and assumptions used in the
  model described by Paragraph (B).
         (f)  The district shall submit the application to the
  development board and the development board shall conduct a
  technical review of the application. The development board shall
  submit a report of the review of the application that includes:
               (1)  findings regarding the compatibility of the
  proposed well field design with the designated brackish groundwater
  production zone; and
               (2)  recommendations for the monitoring system
  described by Subsection (d)(4).
         (g)  The district may not schedule a hearing on the
  application until the district receives the report from the
  development board described by Subsection (f).
         (h)  The district shall provide the reports required under
  Subsection (d)(6) to the development board. Not later than the
  120th day after the date the development board receives a request
  from the district, the development board shall investigate and
  issue a report on whether brackish groundwater production under the
  project that is the subject of the report from the designated
  brackish groundwater production zone is projected to cause:
               (1)  significant aquifer level declines in the same or
  an adjacent aquifer, subdivision of an aquifer, or geologic stratum
  that were not anticipated by the development board in the
  designation of the zone;
               (2)  negative effects on quality of water in an
  aquifer, subdivision of an aquifer, or geologic stratum; or
               (3)  for a project located in a designated brackish
  groundwater production zone in the Gulf Coast Aquifer, subsidence
  during the permit term.
         (i)  After receiving from the development board a report
  issued under Subsection (h) and after notice and hearing subject to
  Subchapter M, the district may:
               (1)  amend the applicable permit to establish a
  production limit necessary to mitigate any negative effects
  identified by the report;
               (2)  approve a mitigation plan that alleviates any
  negative effects identified by the report; or
               (3)  both amend the permit to establish a production
  limit and approve a mitigation plan.
         SECTION 2.  Section 36.1132, Water Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (d) to read as follows:
         (d)  Production under a permit issued under Section 36.1015
  to produce brackish groundwater from a designated brackish
  groundwater production zone is in addition to the amount of
  groundwater that may be produced based on Subsections (b)(1) and
  (2).  To the extent possible, a district shall issue permits up to
  the point that the total volume of exempt and permitted groundwater
  production in a designated brackish groundwater production zone
  equals the amount of brackish groundwater that may be produced
  annually to achieve the groundwater availability described by the
  Texas Water Development Board in its designation of the brackish
  groundwater production zone under Section 16.060(e).
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect December 1, 2017.
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