|(a) No person may take or divert any state water from a river basin and transfer such water to any other river basin without first applying for and receiving a water right or an amendment to a water right authorizing the transfer. (b) An increase in the authorized amount of water being transferred to the receiving basin under an existing water right constitutes a new interbasin transfer for purposes of this section. (c) In addition to the other requirements of this chapter relating to the review of and action on an application for a new or amended water right, the commission shall weigh the effects of the proposed transfer by considering: (1) the need for the water in the basin of origin and in the proposed receiving basin based on the period for which the water supply is requested, but not to exceed fifty years; (2) factors identified in the applicable approved regional water plans which address the following: (A) the availability of feasible and practicable alternative supplies in the receiving basin to the water proposed for transfer; (B) the amount and purposes of use in the receiving basin for which the water is needed; (C) proposed methods and efforts by the receiving basin to avoid waste and implement water conservation and drought contingency measures; (D) proposed methods and efforts by the receiving basin to put the water proposed for transfer to beneficial use; (E) the projected economic impact that is reasonably expected to occur in each basin as a result of the transfer; and (F) the projected impacts of the proposed transfer that are reasonably expected to occur on existing water rights, instream uses, water quality, aquatic and riparian habitat, and bays and estuaries in each basin. If the water sought to be transferred is currently authorized to be used under an existing water right in the basin of origin, such impacts shall only be considered in relation to that portion of the water right proposed for transfer and shall be based on the historical uses of the water right for which amendment is sought. (3) proposed mitigation or compensation, if any, to the basin of origin by the applicant; (4) the continued need to use the water for the purposes authorized under the existing water right if an amendment to an existing water right is sought; (5) comments received from county judges required to be provided notice of the application as provided by §297.17 of this title (relating to Emergency Authorization (Texas Water Code, §11.139)); and (6) information required to be submitted by the applicant. (d) The commission may grant, in whole or in part, an application for an interbasin transfer only to the extent that: (1) the detriments to the basin of origin during the proposed transfer period are less than the benefits to the receiving basin during the proposed transfer period as defined by the factors provided in subsection (c) of this section; and (2) the applicant for the interbasin transfer has prepared drought contingency and water conservation plans meeting the requirements of Chapter 288 of this title (relating to Water Conservation Plans, Drought Contingency Plans, Guidelines and Requirements) and has implemented a water conservation plan that will result in the highest practicable levels of water conservation and efficiency achievable within the jurisdiction of the applicant. (e) The commission may grant new or amended water rights under this section with or without specific terms or periods of use and with specific conditions under which a transfer of water may occur. (f) If an interbasin transfer of water is based on a contractual sale of water, the new or amended water right authorizing the transfer shall contain a condition for a term or period not greater than the contract term, including any extension or renewal of the term. (g) The parties to a contract for an interbasin transfer of water may include provisions for compensation and mitigation. If the party from the basin of origin is a governmental entity, each county judge located in whole or in part in the basin of origin may provide comment on the appropriate compensation and mitigation for the interbasin transfer. (h) A new water right or amendment to an existing water right for a proposed interbasin transfer of water is junior in priority to water rights in the basin of origin granted before the time an administratively complete application for the transfer is filed with the chief clerk in accordance with §281.17 of this title (relating to Notice of Receipt of Application and Declaration of Administrative Completeness). If an amendment is made to the water right to effectuate an interbasin transfer of water for a term, the affected portion of the water right shall be junior to all existing water rights in the basin of origin only for the term of the amendment. (i) A new water right or amendment to an existing water right for a transfer of water from a river basin in which two or more river authorities or water districts have written agreements or permits that provide for the coordinated operation of their respective reservoirs to maximize the amount of water for beneficial use within their respective water service areas shall be junior in priority to water rights granted in that basin before the time an administratively complete application for the interbasin transfer is filed with the chief clerk in accordance with §281.17 of this title. If an amendment is made to the water right to effectuate an interbasin transfer of water for a term, the affected portion of the water right shall be junior to all existing water rights in the basin of origin only for the term of the amendment. (j) An appropriator of water for municipal purposes in the basin of origin may, at the appropriator's option, be a party in any hearings under this section. Nothing in this provision shall be construed as adversely affecting the ability of any other potentially affected person to obtain party status. (k) The provisions that are contained in subsections (b) - (j) of this section that are in addition to those generally required for an application for a new or amended water right do not apply to: (1) a proposed transfer which in combination with any existing transfers totals less than 3,000 acre-feet of water per annum from the same water right; (2) a request for an emergency transfer of water as provided by §297.17 of this title; (3) a proposed transfer from a basin to its adjoining coastal basin; (4) a proposed transfer of water that is: (A) imported from a source located wholly outside the boundaries of this state; except water that is imported from a source located in the United Mexican States; (B) for use in this state; and (C) transported by using the bed and banks of any flowing natural stream in this state; or (5) a proposed interbasin transfer from the basin of origin to a county or municipality or the municipality's retail service area that is partially within the basin of origin for use in the part of the county or municipality and the municipality's retail service area not within the basin of origin. The further transfer and use of this water outside of such county or municipal retail service area as existing at the time of the transfer or as may exist in the future other than back to the basin of origin shall not be exempt under this paragraph. For purposes of this paragraph, a county, municipality, or municipality's retail service area refers to a geographic area.
|Source Note: The provisions of this §297.18 adopted to be effective May 29, 1986, 11 TexReg 2330; amended to be effective February 24, 1999, 24 TexReg 1162; amended to be effective August 15, 2002, 27 TexReg 7152; amended to be effective May 6, 2010, 35 TexReg 3504