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TITLE 31NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION
PART 10TEXAS WATER DEVELOPMENT BOARD
CHAPTER 357REGIONAL WATER PLANNING
SUBCHAPTER BGUIDANCE PRINCIPLES AND NOTICE REQUIREMENTS
RULE §357.21Notice and Public Participation

(a) Each RWPG and any committee or subcommittee of an RWPG are subject to Chapters 551 and 552, Government Code. A copy of all materials presented or discussed at an open meeting shall be made available for public inspection prior to and following the meetings and shall meet the additional notice requirements when specifically referenced as required under other subsections. In accordance with Texas Water Code §16.053(r), certain information regarding water infrastructure facilities is excepted from the Public Information Act, Texas Government Code, Chapter 552. In addition to the notice requirements of Chapter 551, Government Code, the following requirements apply to RWPGs.

(b) Each RWPG shall create and maintain a website that they will use to post public notices of all its full RWPG, committee, and subcommittee meetings and make available meeting agendas and related meeting materials for the public, in accordance with this section.

(c) Each RWPG shall provide a means by which it will accept written public comment prior to and after meetings. The RWPGs must also allow oral public comment during RWPG meetings and hearings.

(d) Each RWPG shall solicit interested parties from the public and maintain a list of emails of persons or entities who request to be notified electronically of RWPG activities.

(e) At a minimum, notices of all meetings, meeting materials, and meeting agendas shall be sent electronically, in accordance with the timelines and any additional notice requirements provided in subsections (g)(1) - (3) and (h) of this section or any additional notice requirements in the RWPG bylaws, to all voting and non-voting RWPG members and any person or entity who has requested notice of RWPG activities. Notice must also be provided to the following:

  (1) if a recommended or Alternative WMS that is located outside of the RWPG is being considered, the RWPG where the recommended or Alternative WMS is located must also receive notice of any meeting or hearing where action or public input may be taken on the recommended or Alternative WMS.

  (2) for hearings on declarations of intent to pursue simplified planning, if an RWPG shares a water supply source, WMS, or WMSP with another RWPG, the RWPG declaring intent to pursue simplified planning must notify the RWPG with shared source, WMS, or WMSP.

  (3) each project sponsor of an infeasible WMS or WMSP must be provided notice of any meeting or hearing where action may be taken on the infeasible WMS or WMSP.

(f) At a minimum, all meeting and hearing notices must be posted to the RWPG website and on the secretary of state website and must include:

  (1) the date, time, and location of the meeting;

  (2) a summary of the proposed action(s) to be taken;

  (3) the name, telephone number, email address, and physical address of a contact person to whom questions or requests for additional information may be submitted; and

  (4) a statement of how and when comments will be received from the members and public.

(g) In addition to subsections (a) - (f) of this section, and the notice requirements of Chapter 551, Government Code, the following requirements apply:

  (1) at a minimum, notice must be provided at least seven days prior to the meeting, and meeting materials must be made available on the RWPG website at least three days prior to and seven days following the meeting when the planning group will take the following actions:

    (A) regular RWPG meetings and any RWPG committee or subcommittee meetings;

    (B) approval of requests for funds from the Board;

    (C) amendments to the scope of work or budget included in the regional water planning grant contract between the political subdivision and TWDB;

    (D) approval of revision requests for draft population projections and Water Demand projections;

    (E) adoption of the IPP;

    (F) approval to submit a request to EA for approval of an Alternative WMS substitution or to request an EA determination of a minor amendment;

    (G) declaration of implementation of simplified planning following public hearing on intent to pursue simplified planning;

    (H) initiation of major amendments to RWPs and adoption of major amendments following a public hearing on the amendment;

    (I) approval of replacement RWPG members to fill voting and non-voting position vacancies; and

    (J) any other RWPG approvals required by the regional water planning grant contract between TWDB and the political subdivision.

  (2) at a minimum, notice must be provided at least 14 days prior to the meeting, written comment must be accepted for 14 days prior to the meeting and considered by the RWPG members prior to taking the associated action, and meeting materials must be made available on the RWPG website for a minimum of seven days prior to and 14 days following the meeting, when the planning group will take the following actions:

    (A) approval to submit revision requests to officially adopted Board population and Water Demand projections;

    (B) approval of process of identifying potentially feasible WMSs and presentation of analysis of infeasible WMSs or WMSPs;

    (C) approval to submit the Technical Memorandum;

    (D) adoption of the final RWP;

    (E) approval to substitute Alternative WMSs; and

    (F) adoption of minor amendments to RWPs.

  (3) at a minimum, notice must be provided at least 30 days prior to the hearing, written comment must be accepted for 30 days prior to and following the date of the hearing and considered by the RWPG members prior to taking the associated action, and meeting materials must be made available on the RWPG website for a minimum of seven days prior to and 30 days following the hearing, when the planning group will receive input from the public on the following items:

    (A) declarations to pursue simplified planning; and

    (B) major amendments to RWPs.

(h) when holding pre-planning public meetings to obtain public input on development of the next RWP, holding hearings on the IPP, or making revisions to RWPs based on interregional conflict resolutions, in addition to the requirements of subsection (e) of this section, the following additional public notice and document provisions must be met per TWC §16.053(h):

  (1) notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in each county located in whole or in part in the RWPA before the 30th day preceding the date of the public meeting or hearing.

  (2) at a minimum, notice must be provided at least 30 days prior to the meeting or hearing.

  (3) written comments to be accepted as follows:

    (A) written comments submitted immediately following 30-day public notice posting and prior to and during meeting or hearing; and

    (B) at least 60 days following the date of the public hearing on an IPP.

  (4) if more than one hearing on the IPP is held, the notice and comment periods apply to the date of the first hearing.

  (5) additional entities to be notified by mail under this subsection include:

    (A) each adjacent RWPG;

    (B) each mayor of a municipality, located in whole or in part in the RWPA, with a population of 1,000 or more or which is a county seat;

    (C) each county judge of a county located in whole or in part in the RWPA;

    (D) each special or general law district or river authority with responsibility to manage or supply water in the RWPA based upon lists of such water districts and river authorities obtained from the Commission; and

    (E) each Retail Public Utility, defined as a community water system, that serves any part of the RWPA or receives water from the RWPA based upon lists of such entities obtained from the Commission; and

    (F) each holder of record of a water right for the use of surface water the diversion of which occurs in the RWPA based upon lists of such water rights holders obtained from the Commission.

  (6) the public hearings shall be conducted at a central location readily accessible to the public within the regional water planning area.

  (7) RWPGs shall make copies of the IPP available for public inspection at least 30 days before the required public hearing by providing a copy of the IPP in at least one public library in each county and either the county courthouse's law library, the county clerk's office, or some other accessible place within the county courthouse of each county having land in the RWPA. The locations of such copies shall be included in the public hearing notice. For distribution of the IPP, the RWPG may consult and coordinate with county and local officials in determining the most appropriate public library and location in the county courthouse to ensure maximum accessibility to the public during business hours. According to the capabilities of the facility, the RWPG may provide the copy electronically, on electronic media, through an internet web link, or in hard copy. The RWPG shall make an effort to ensure ease of access to the public, including where feasible, posting the IPP on websites and providing notice of such posting. The public inspection requirement in this subsection applies only to IPPs; adopted RWPs are only required to be submitted to the Board pursuant to Texas Water Code, §16.053(i).

  (8) Any additional meeting materials associated with meetings in this subsection must be made available on the RWPG website for a minimum of seven days prior to and 30 days following the meeting or hearing.

(i) All notice periods given are based on calendar days.

(j) Each RWPG shall include a statement in their draft and final adopted RWPs regarding the RWPG's conformance with this section.


Source Note: The provisions of this §357.21 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; amended to be effective June 28, 2020, 45 TexReg 4211; amended to be effective May 27, 2021, 46 TexReg 3297

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