HBA-NMO C.S.H.B. 2575 76(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 2575 By: Counts Natural Resources 3/23/99 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Current law requires the Texas Water Development Board (board) to administer the Texas Water Bank (water bank) to facilitate water transactions to provide sources of adequate water supplies for use within this state. As the population of Texas grows, municipal and industrial demand for water will increase significantly. For many municipalities and their associated industries the most cost-effective means of meeting growing water needs may be the purchase and conversion of water historically used for agricultural irrigation. However, stakeholders reliant upon the agricultural economy may be hesitant to lose agricultural water resources to municipal and industrial uses. One way of converting water use from agricultural to municipal and industrial use without decreasing the amount of water available for agriculture is by improving the efficiency of agricultural irrigation systems and transferring the conserved water to municipal and industrial use. The board and water bank could help facilitate this process. C.S.H.B. 2575 authorizes the board to transfer water or water rights in its own name and enter into contracts for feasibility studies regarding water conservation efforts. This bill also changes the transfer fee charged by the board from a flat rate of $500 to one percent of the value of the water or water right received into or transferred from the water bank, and requires the board to place such fees in the water bank account of the water assistance fund. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 15.703(a), Water Code, to include in those actions which the Texas Water Development Board (board) is authorized to take to operate the water bank and to facilitate the transfer of water rights from the water bank for future beneficial use: _the transfer water or water rights in its own name, rather than sale of water rights in its own name, and _the entering into contracts with persons to pay for feasibility studies or the preparation of plans and specifications relating to water conservation efforts or to estimate the amount of water that would be saved through conservation efforts. SECTION 2. Amends Section 15.705, Water Code, to authorize the board to charge a transaction fee per transfer not to exceed one percent of the value of the water or water right received into or transferred from the water bank, rather than $500. Deletes language referring to the exemption of political subdivisions of this state from transfer fees, the establishment of fees by the board, by rule, and the payment of transaction fees. Requires the board to place fees in the water bank account of the water assistance fund. SECTION 3. Amends Section 15.707(a), Water Code, to make conforming changes. SECTION 4.Emergency clause. Effective date: upon passage. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE The substitute differs from the original, in SECTION 1, by including in the authorized actions of the Texas Water Development Board the entering into contracts with persons to pay for feasibility studies or, rather than of, the preparation of plans and specifications relating to water conservation efforts.