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RULE §357.12General Regional Water Planning Group Responsibilities and Procedures

(a) Prior to the preparation for the RWPs, in accordance with the public participation requirements in §357.21 of this title (relating to Notice and Public Participation), the RWPGs shall:

  (1) hold at least one public meeting at a central location readily accessible to the public within the regional water planning area to gather suggestions and recommendations from the public as to issues that should be addressed or provisions that should be included in the next regional or state water plan;

  (2) prepare a scope of work that includes a detailed description of tasks to be performed, identifies responsible parties for task execution, a task schedule, task and expense budgets, and describes interim products, draft reports, and final reports for the planning process;

  (3) approve any amendments to the scope of work only in an open meeting of the RWPG where notice of the proposed action was provided in accordance with §357.21 of this title; and

  (4) designate a Political Subdivision as a representative of the RWPG eligible to apply for financial assistance for scope of work and RWP development pursuant to Chapter 355, Subchapter C of this title (relating to Regional Water Planning Grants).

(b) An RWPG shall hold a public meeting to determine the process for identifying potentially feasible WMSs; the process shall be documented and shall include input received at the public meeting; after reviewing the potentially feasible strategies using the documented process, then the RWPG shall list all possible WMSs that are potentially feasible for meeting a Water Need in the region. The public meeting under this subsection shall be in accordance with the requirements of §357.21(b) of this title, for the development of RWPs previous to the 2026 RWP. Beginning with the development of the 2026 RWP, and every RWP thereafter, this meeting shall be held in accordance with the requirements of §357.21(c) of this title and shall include the results of the analysis of infeasible WMSs or WMSPs, as defined by Texas Water Code §16.053(h)(10), included in the most recently adopted previous RWP. Infeasible WMSs or WMSPs shall be identified based on project sponsor provided information or local knowledge, as acquired through plan development activities such as surveys, and as determined based on implementation schedules consistent with implementation by the project sponsors. The group shall provide notice to all associated project sponsors and amend its adopted RWP as appropriate based upon the analysis.

(c) The RWPGs shall approve and submit a Technical Memorandum to the EA after notice pursuant to §357.21(c) of this title. The Technical Memorandum shall include:

  (1) The most recent population and Water Demand projections adopted by the Board;

  (2) Updated source water Availability utilized in the RWPA, as entered into the State Water Planning Database;

  (3) Updated Existing Water Supplies, as entered into the State Water Planning Database;

  (4) Identified Water Needs and surpluses;

  (5) The documented process used by the RWPG to identify potentially feasible WMSs;

  (6) The potentially feasible WMSs identified as of the date of submittal of the Technical Memorandum to the EA, if any;

  (7) Beginning with the development of the 2026 RWP and each RWP thereafter, a listing of the infeasible WMSs and WMSPs as determined by the RWPG pursuant to TWC §16.053(h)(10) and subsection (b) of this section; and

  (8) During each off-census RWP development, the RWPG’s declaration of intent to pursue simplified planning for that planning cycle. If the RWPG intends to pursue simplified planning, the RWPG shall document the process to authorize and initiate subsection (g) of this section.

(d) The EA shall evaluate the Technical Memorandum and any declaration of intent to pursue simplified planning, if applicable, and issue written approval prior to implementation of simplified planning by the RWPG. If an RWPG has not declared to pursue simplified planning in their Technical Memorandum, they may proceed without any additional approvals to develop their IPP. If the RWPG chooses to rescind their decision to pursue simplified planning, they must do so prior to executing a contract scope of work and budget amendment with the TWDB. The RWPG must discuss and act on the decision at a public meeting posted under notice requirements of §357.21(b) of this title.

(e) If applicable, and approved by the EA, an RWPG may implement simplified planning in off-census planning cycles in accordance with guidance to be provided by the EA. An RWPG may only pursue simplified planning if:

  (1) the RWPG determines in its analysis of Water Needs that it has sufficient Existing Water Supplies in the RWPA to meet all Water Needs for the 50-year planning period while identifying Existing Water Supplies that are available for voluntary redistribution in the RWPA or to other RWPAs; or

  (2) an RWPG determines, including based on its analysis of source water Availability, that there are no significant changes, as determined by the RWPG, to water Availability, Existing Water Supplies, or Water Demands in the RWPA. A determination that there have been no significant changes may not be based solely on an aggregated, region-wide basis without consideration of sub-regional changes.

(f) If an RWPG elects to pursue simplified planning, it must:

  (1) Complete the Technical Memorandum in subsection (c) of this section and, based upon the analysis, determine and document whether significant changes have resulted from the most recently adopted RWP;

  (2) Meet new statutory or other planning requirements that come into effect during the most recent planning cycle;

  (3) where appropriate, adopt previous RWP or State Water Plan information, updated as necessary, as the IPP and RWP, in accordance with guidance to be provided by the EA; and

  (4) conduct other activities upon approval of the EA necessary to complete an RWP that meets rule and statute requirements, including that no water supply sources to the RWPA be over-allocated.

(g) If an RWPG declares intention to pursue simplified planning with the submittal of its Technical Memorandum, in accordance with subsection (c) of this section, the RWPG shall hold a public hearing on the intent to pursue simplified planning for the RWPA, to be held after submitting the Technical Memorandum and in accordance in §357.21(d) of this title. This public hearing is not required for RWPGs that state they will not pursue simplified planning in their Technical Memorandum.

(h) Following receipt of public comments, the RWPG shall hold a meeting in accordance with the requirements of §357.21(b) of this title to consider comments received and declare implementation of simplified planning.

(i) Each RWPG and any committee or subcommittee of an RWPG are subject to Chapters 551 (relating to Open Meetings) and 552 (relating to Public Information), Government Code.

Source Note: The provisions of this §357.12 adopted to be effective August 12, 2012, 37 TexReg 5797; amended to be effective December 8, 2016, 41 TexReg 9589; amended to be effective April 11, 2018, 43 TexReg 2158

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