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TITLE 30ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
PART 1TEXAS COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
CHAPTER 293WATER DISTRICTS
SUBCHAPTER CSPECIAL REQUIREMENTS FOR GROUNDWATER CONSERVATION DISTRICTS
RULE §293.19Commission-Initiated Creation of a Groundwater Conservation District in a Priority Groundwater Management Area

(a) In priority groundwater management areas (PGMAs) designated after September 1, 2001 under §294.42 of this title (relating to Commission Action Concerning PGMA Designation), where no groundwater conservation district (GCD) has been created, the executive director shall, after identifying the applicable areas under §294.43(d) and (e) of this title (relating to Actions Required After PGMA Designation), recommend district creation for commission action.

  (1) The recommendation shall be based on and consistent with the commission's designation order under §294.42 of this title. The executive director's recommendation, in the form of a proposed order, must provide for the purpose, boundary description, minimum financing, and the number of temporary directors for each county for the district.

  (2) The executive director's proposed order shall be filed with the chief clerk for commission consideration. The executive director shall prepare a notice and include a mailing list of:

    (A) water stakeholders that include the governing body of each county, regional water planning group, adjacent GCD, municipality, river authority, water district, or other entity that supplies public drinking water, including each holder of a certificate of convenience and necessity issued by the commission and each irrigation district located either in whole or in part in the proposed district; and

    (B) any other persons identified in the PGMA designation hearing.

  (3) The chief clerk shall give notice of the executive director's recommendation and proposed order and the date of the agenda when the commission will act on the district creation to the water stakeholders and other persons identified in the PGMA designation hearing. The commission shall not hold an evidentiary hearing on the district creation.

(b) In PGMAs designated before September 1, 2001, the executive director, after identifying the areas in the PGMA that have not created a district, shall petition the commission for the creation of a district by preparing a report and filing the report with the chief clerk.

  (1) The report shall identify the areas not included in a district and evaluate and recommend whether one or more districts should be created in the identified areas, whether the identified areas should be added to an existing district, or whether a combination of these actions should be taken.

  (2) The report shall include the following:

    (A) the purpose or purposes of the recommended district creation action or actions;

    (B) the name of the recommended district or districts or the name of the existing district if the recommendation is to add the identified areas to an existing district;

    (C) the area and boundaries of the recommended district or districts or the recommended area to be added to an existing district, including a map generally outlining the boundaries;

    (D) the number of temporary directors for each county in the recommended district or districts; and

    (E) the feasibility and practicability of the recommended district creation action.

  (3) The executive director shall prepare a mailing list of water stakeholders including the governing body of each county, regional water planning group, adjacent GCD, municipality, river authority, water district, or other entity that supplies public drinking water, including each holder of a certificate of convenience and necessity issued by the commission and each irrigation district located either in whole or in part in the identified areas.

  (4) The executive director shall prepare a public notice for publishing and mailing. The public notice shall:

    (A) state that the commission has been petitioned by the executive director to create a GCD;

    (B) provide notice of the date, time, and location of a contested case hearing to receive evidence on the petition;

    (C) provide notice of the availability of the petition and supporting information; and

    (D) provide a general map of the proposed district if the area is not a recognizable political subdivision boundary.

  (5) On receipt of the report and notice, the chief clerk shall:

    (A) mail notice of the petition to the water stakeholders identified in the executive director's mailing list; and

    (B) publish notice in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the area of the proposed district.

  (6) The commission, or the executive director on behalf of the commission, shall refer the petition to SOAH for a contested case hearing on the executive director's report and recommendation.

  (7) The hearing shall be limited to consideration of the executive director's report and recommendation. The administrative law judge may also consider other district creation options evaluated in the executive director's report. To determine the feasibility and practicability of the recommended district creation action, the administrative law judge shall consider:

    (A) whether the recommended district creation action can effectively manage groundwater resources under the authorities provided in Texas Water Code (TWC), Chapter 36;

    (B) whether the boundaries of the recommended district creation action provide for the effective management of groundwater resources; and

    (C) whether the recommended district creation action can be adequately funded to finance required or authorized groundwater management planning, regulatory, and district operation functions under TWC, Chapter 36.

  (8) The administrative law judge shall at the conclusion of the hearing, issue a proposal for decision stating findings, conclusions, and recommendations. The administrative law judge shall file these findings and conclusions with the chief clerk with a request for the petition be set for commission consideration.

(c) If the commission finds the creation of the district or districts is feasible and practicable, it shall issue an order creating the district or districts. The order shall include the purpose of the district, boundary description, minimum maintenance tax or production fee necessary to support the district, and the number of temporary directors for each county in the district according to TWC, §36.0161. The commission order shall direct the commissioners court of the county or counties that are within the district to appoint temporary directors. The commission order shall direct the temporary directors to call and schedule an election to authorize the district to assess taxes and to elect permanent directors.

  (1) The commissioners court of the county or counties within the district shall, within 90 days after receiving notification from the commission, appoint temporary directors for the district and notify the commission of the appointments. The commissioners court shall not make any appointments after the expiration of the 90-day period. If fewer temporary directors have been appointed at the expiration of the period than required, the commission shall appoint the additional directors.

  (2) If the district contains two or more counties, the commission shall apportion the number of temporary directors to each county based on each county's proportionate amount, to the nearest whole number, of the total estimated groundwater use within the district. The total estimated groundwater usage within the district for each county shall be based on information and data contained in the most current version of the Texas State Water Plan as adopted by the Texas Water Development Board and other information developed under §294.41 of this title (relating to Priority Groundwater Management Area Identification, Study, and Executive Director's Report Concerning Designation).

  (3) If a temporary director appointed by the commissioners court fails to qualify according to TWC, §§36.051(b), 36.058, and 36.059(b), or if a vacancy occurs in the office of temporary director, the commissioners court shall appoint an individual to fill the vacancy.

  (4) Temporary directors appointed under this subsection shall serve until the initial directors are elected and have qualified for office.

(d) If the commission finds the areas identified in the report provided by subsection (b)(1) of this section should be added to an existing district, the commission shall issue an order recommending the addition of the identified areas to the existing district. The commission and the executive director shall follow the procedures provided under §294.44 of this title (relating to Adding a PGMA to an Existing Groundwater Conservation District).


Source Note: The provisions of this §293.19 adopted to be effective August 29, 2002, 27 TexReg 7942; amended to be effective August 16, 2012, 37 TexReg 6060

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