Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3017
By: Chisum
Natural Resources


The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) was created in 1957 by the 55th
Legislature to be the state's water planning and financing agency that
provides leadership, technical services, and financial assistance to
support planning, conservation, and responsible development of water for
the State of Texas. Under current law, TWDB is subject to review of the
Sunset Advisory Commission, but not abolishment under the Texas Sunset Act.
House Bill 3017 implements the Sunset Advisory Commission's recommendations
for TWDB from the review. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Water Development Board in
SECTION 3 (Section 15.603, Water Code), SECTION 14 (Section 15.909 and
15.910, Water Code), SECTION 15 (Section 16.021, Water Code), and SECTION
20 of this bill. 


House Bill 3017 amends the Water Code to provide for the continuation of
the Texas Water Development Board (board) until September 1, 2013, and to
set forth standard Sunset Advisory Commission recommendations for the board
regarding equal employment, member removal, conflicts of interest,
standards of conduct, policy implementation by the board, written
complaints, development of an equal employment policy, member training, and
a state employee incentive program (Secs. 6.013, 6.052, 6.054, 6.057,
6.058, 6.062, 6.106, 6.111, 6.154, 6.155, 6.188, and 6.196). 

The bill requires the executive administrator to develop and submit to the
board for approval a capital spending plan setting water project priorities
to be supported by state-funded programs, including the Texas water
development fund, the agricultural water conservation fund, and the water
assistance fund.  The bill sets forth the considerations of the executive
administrator in developing the plan and the contents of the plan.  The
bill requires the board to consider the plan at a regularly scheduled
meeting and, on approval, submit the plan to the legislature and the
Legislative Budget Board before January 1 of each odd numbered year.  The
bill authorizes the board to include the plan as part of its legislative
appropriations request (Sec. 6.110). 

The bill authorizes the board to establish a separate account in the
revolving fund, to be used solely for providing financial assistance to
private entities for nonpoint source pollution control and abatement
projects and sets forth the financing of the fund.  The bill requires the
board to adopt rules to establish the criteria for eligibility and the
terms of assistance for private entities that receive financial assistance
from the account (Sec. 15.603). 

The bill creates the rural community water and wastewater loan fund (fund)
within the water assistance fund and provides for the appropriation of
revenue and proceeds for the fund.  The bill authorizes the board to
provide loans of financial assistance, beginning no later than September 1,
2002, to rural communities for the construction, acquisition, or
improvement of water and wastewater projects that serve a public purpose,
as required by federal  income tax law.  The bill sets forth provisions
relating to a loan agreement, including the use of a sales tax as loan
security, review and approval of a loan agreement by the attorney general,
registration of the record of proceedings of a loan agreement execution by
the comptroller, the validity and incontestability in court of the loan
agreement, and the enforcement of  payment by mandamus.  The bill requires
the board to adopt necessary rules no later than March 1, 2002 to
administer the fund, including rules to establish procedures for
application for and award of loans (Secs. 15.902-15.909 and SECTION 20). 

The bill sets forth the information that an application for financial
assistance from the fund must include and requires the board to adopt rules
to prescribe the affidavit form the application must conform with for the
board to accept the application.  The bill also prohibits the board from
adopting rules that restrict or prohibit the board from requiring
additional factual material from an applicant  (Sec. 15.910).   

The bill prohibits the board from delivering funds under an application for
financial assistance from the fund until the executive administrator makes
a written statement finding that an applicant proposing surface water or
underground water development has the necessary water right authorizing the
applicant to appropriate or use the water that the project will provide.
The bill prohibits the board from delivering funds for a wastewater
treatment plant until the applicant has received a permit for the
construction and operation of the plant and approval of the plans and
specifications for the plant from the Texas Natural Resource Conservation
Commission (TNRCC).  If the applicant proposes a wastewater treatment plant
that is located outside the jurisdiction of this state and is not subject
to the permitting authority of TNRCC, the board is prohibited from
delivering funds for the plant until the board reviews the plans and
specifications in coordination with TNRCC and  makes certain findings (Sec.

The bill sets forth factors the board is required to consider in acting on
or passing on an application from a rural community for financial
assistance for a water project (Sec. 15.912).  If there is insufficient
money available to fund all applications for the fund, the bill requires
the board to give preference to applications from rural communities that
the board finds cannot reasonably finance the project without assistance
from the state (Sec. 15.914).  The bill authorizes the board to approve by
resolution an application for a loan under certain conditions (Sec.

The bill sets forth content requirements regarding all contracts for the
construction of a project of a governing body of each rural community
receiving financial assistance from the fund and requires the rural
community to file with the board a certified copy of each contract with the
specifications, plans, and details of all work included in the contract.
The bill sets forth provisions for the filing of construction project
contracts, certification of approval of the contracts, inspection of the
projects, and the alternation of project plans (Secs.15.915-15.919).  The
bill requires the board to report to the legislature on the fund no later
than January 1, 2005 and sets forth the required contents of the report
(Sec. 15.920). 

The bill authorizes the executive administrator, on behalf of the Texas
Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS), to enter into partnerships
with private entities to provide additional funding for the improvement of
accessing TNRIS information.  The bill requires the board to adopt rules
for the process of establishing and defining the partnerships, fee
collection, and determination of which private entities may enter into
partnerships.  The bill requires the Texas Geographic Information Council
to prepare and provide, no later than September 1 of each even-numbered
year,  to the board, the Department of Information Resources, the governor,
and the legislature a plan that inventories state agency geographic
information systems projects and recommends initiatives to improve Texas'
geographic information systems programs (Sec. 16.021).   

The bill requires the board and the State Soil and Water Conservation Board
to jointly conduct a study of the ways to improve and expand water
conservation efforts and sets forth the contents of a report of the
findings to the legislature.  The bill also requires that the report be
issued as part of, or as a supplement to, the state water plan (Sec.

The bill amends the Government Code to rename the Colonia Advisory
Committee as the Colonia SelfHelp Center Advisory Committee (Secs. 2306.584
and 2306.585).  The bill also creates the Colonia Water and Wastewater
Infrastructure Advisory Committee (advisory committee) and provides that
the advisory committee is composed of seven members appointed by the
governor, one colonia resident, one representative of a nonprofit
organization that serves colonia residents, one local government
representative, one person to represent private interests in banking or
land development, one representative of a nonprofit utility, one
representative of an engineering consultant firm involved in economically
distressed areas program projects, and one public member.  The bill
provides that each advisory committee member, except the public member,
must reside within 100 miles of the Texas-Mexico border and provides that
the secretary of state is an ex officio member of the advisory committee.
The bill requires the advisory committee to review the progress of water
and wastewater infrastructure affecting colonias and present an update, and
to make recommendations on the status of the infrastructure and the colonia
projects to the board and the governing board of the Texas Department of
Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) annually at a joint meeting (Sec.
2306.5851).  The bill requires the board to meet annually with TDHCA to
address progress in meeting the needs of colonia residents and to receive
an update and recommendations from the advisory committee (Sec. 6.060,
Water Code). 


September 1, 2001.