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TITLE 31NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION
PART 10TEXAS WATER DEVELOPMENT BOARD
CHAPTER 357REGIONAL WATER PLANNING
SUBCHAPTER CPLANNING ACTIVITIES FOR NEEDS ANALYSIS AND STRATEGY RECOMMENDATIONS
RULE §357.34Identification and Evaluation of Potentially Feasible Water Management Strategies and Water Management Strategy Projects

(a) RWPGs shall identify and evaluate potentially feasible WMSs and the WMSPs required to implement those strategies for all WUGs and WWPs with identified Water Needs.

(b) RWPGs shall identify potentially feasible WMSs to meet water supply needs identified in §357.33 of this title (relating to Needs Analysis: Comparison of Water Supplies and Demands) in accordance with the process in §357.12(b) of this title (relating to General Regional Water Planning Group Responsibilities and Procedures). Strategies shall be developed for WUGs and WWPs. The strategies shall meet new water supply obligations necessary to implement recommended WMSs of WWPs and WUGs. RWPGs shall plan for water supply during Drought of Record conditions. In developing RWPs, RWPGs shall provide WMSs to be used during a Drought of Record.

(c) Potentially feasible WMSs may include, but are not limited to:

  (1) Expanded use of existing supplies including system optimization and conjunctive use of water resources, reallocation of reservoir storage to new uses, voluntary redistribution of water resources including contracts, water marketing, regional water banks, sales, leases, options, subordination agreements, and financing agreements, subordination of existing water rights through voluntary agreements, enhancements of yields of existing sources, and improvement of water quality including control of naturally occurring chlorides.

  (2) New supply development including construction and improvement of surface water and groundwater resources, brush control, precipitation enhancement, seawater desalination, brackish groundwater desalination, water supply that could be made available by cancellation of water rights based on data provided by the Commission, rainwater harvesting, and aquifer storage and recovery.

  (3) Conservation and Drought Management Measures including demand management.

  (4) Reuse of wastewater.

  (5) Interbasin Transfers of Surface Water.

  (6) Emergency transfers of surface water including a determination of the part of each water right for non-municipal use in the RWPA that may be transferred without causing unreasonable damage to the property of the non-municipal water rights holder in accordance with Texas Water Code §11.139 (relating to Emergency Authorizations).

(d) All recommended WMSs and WMSPs that are entered into the State Water Planning Database and prioritized by RWPGs shall be designed to reduce the consumption of water, reduce the loss or waste of water, improve the efficiency in the use of water, or develop, deliver or treat additional water supply volumes to WUGs or WWPs in at least one planning decade such that additional water is available during Drought of Record conditions. Any other RWPG recommendations regarding permit modifications, operational changes, and/or other infrastructure that are not designed to reduce the consumption of water, reduce the loss or waste of water, improve the efficiency in the use of water, or develop, deliver or treat additional water supply volumes to WUGs or WWPs in at least one Planning Decade such that additional water is available during Drought of Record conditions shall be indicated as such and presented separately in the RWP and shall not be eligible for funding from the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas.

(e) Evaluations of potentially feasible WMSs and associated WMSPs shall include the following analyses:

  (1) For the purpose of evaluating potentially feasible WMSs, the Commission's most current Water Availability Model with assumptions of no return flows and full utilization of senior water rights, is to be used. Alternative assumptions may be used with written approval from the EA who shall consider a written request from an RWPG to use assumptions other than no return flows and full utilization of senior water rights.

  (2) An equitable comparison between and consistent evaluation and application of all WMSs the RWPGs determine to be potentially feasible for each water supply need.

  (3) A quantitative reporting of:

    (A) The net quantity, reliability, and cost of water delivered and treated for the end user's requirements during Drought of Record conditions, taking into account and reporting anticipated strategy water losses, incorporating factors used in calculating infrastructure debt payments and may include present costs and discounted present value costs. Costs do not include distribution of water within a WUG after treatment.

    (B) Environmental factors including effects on environmental water needs, wildlife habitat, cultural resources, and effect of upstream development on bays, estuaries, and arms of the Gulf of Mexico. Evaluations of effects on environmental flows shall include consideration of the Commission's adopted environmental flow standards under 30 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 298 (relating to Environmental Flow Standards for Surface Water). If environmental flow standards have not been established, then environmental information from existing site-specific studies, or in the absence of such information, state environmental planning criteria adopted by the Board for inclusion in the State Water Plan after coordinating with staff of the Commission and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to ensure that WMSs are adjusted to provide for environmental water needs including instream flows and bays and estuaries inflows.

    (C) Impacts to agricultural resources.

  (4) Discussion of the plan's impact on other water resources of the state including other WMSs and groundwater and surface water interrelationships.

  (5) A discussion of each threat to agricultural or natural resources identified pursuant to §357.30(7) of this title (relating to Description of the Regional Water Planning Area) including how that threat will be addressed or affected by the WMSs evaluated.

  (6) If applicable, consideration and discussion of the provisions in Texas Water Code §11.085(k)(1) for Interbasin Transfers of Surface Water. At minimum, this consideration shall include a summation of Water Needs in the basin of origin and in the receiving basin.

  (7) Consideration of third-party social and economic impacts resulting from voluntary redistributions of water including analysis of third-party impacts of moving water from rural and agricultural areas.

  (8) A description of the major impacts of recommended WMSs on key parameters of water quality identified by RWPGs as important to the use of a water resource and comparing conditions with the recommended WMSs to current conditions using best available data.

  (9) Consideration of water pipelines and other facilities that are currently used for water conveyance as described in §357.22(a)(3) of this title (relating to General Considerations for Development of Regional Water Plans).

  (10) Other factors as deemed relevant by the RWPG including recreational impacts.

(f) RWPGs shall evaluate and present potentially feasible WMSs and WMSPs with sufficient specificity to allow state agencies to make financial or regulatory decisions to determine consistency of the proposed action before the state agency with an approved RWP.

(g) If an RWPG does not recommend aquifer storage and recovery strategies, seawater desalination strategies, or brackish groundwater desalination strategies it must document the reason(s) in the RWP.

(h) In instances where an RWPG has determined there are significant identified Water Needs in the RWPA, the RWP shall include an assessment of the potential for aquifer storage and recovery to meet those Water Needs. Each RWPG shall define the threshold to determine whether it has significant identified Water Needs. Each RWP shall include, at a minimum, a description of the methodology used to determine the threshold of significant needs. If a specific assessment is conducted, the assessment may be based on information from existing studies and shall include minimum parameters as defined in contract guidance.

(i) Conservation, Drought Management Measures, and Drought Contingency Plans shall be considered by RWPGs when developing the regional plans, particularly during the process of identifying, evaluating, and recommending WMSs. RWPs shall incorporate water conservation planning and drought contingency planning in the RWPA.

  (1) Drought Management Measures including water demand management. RWPGs shall consider Drought Management Measures for each need identified in §357.33 of this title and shall include such measures for each user group to which Texas Water Code §11.1272 (relating to Drought Contingency Plans for Certain Applicants and Water Right Holders) applies. Impacts of the Drought Management Measures on Water Needs must be consistent with guidance provided by the Commission in its administrative rules implementing Texas Water Code §11.1272. If an RWPG does not adopt a drought management strategy for a need it must document the reason in the RWP. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as limiting the use of voluntary arrangements by water users to forgo water usage during drought periods.

  (2) Water conservation practices. RWPGs must consider water conservation practices, including potentially applicable best management practices, for each identified Water Need.

    (A) RWPGs shall include water conservation practices for each user group to which Texas Water Code §11.1271 and §13.146 (relating to Water Conservation Plans) apply. The impact of these water conservation practices on Water Needs must be consistent with requirements in appropriate Commission administrative rules related to Texas Water Code §11.1271 and §13.146.

    (B) RWPGs shall consider water conservation practices for each WUG beyond the minimum requirements of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, whether or not the WUG is subject to Texas Water Code §11.1271 and §13.146. If RWPGs do not adopt a Water Conservation Strategy to meet an identified need, they shall document the reason in the RWP.

    (C) For each WUG or WWP that is to obtain water from a proposed interbasin transfer to which Texas Water Code §11.085 (relating to Interbasin Transfers) applies, RWPGs shall include a Water Conservation Strategy, pursuant to Texas Water Code §11.085(l), that will result in the highest practicable level of water conservation and efficiency achievable. For these strategies, RWPGs shall determine and report projected water use savings in gallons per capita per day based on its determination of the highest practicable level of water conservation and efficiency achievable. RWPGs shall develop conservation strategies based on this determination. In preparing this evaluation, RWPGs shall seek the input of WUGs and WWPs as to what is the highest practicable level of conservation and efficiency achievable, in their opinion, and take that input into consideration. RWPGs shall develop water conservation strategies consistent with guidance provided by the Commission in its administrative rules that implement Texas Water Code §11.085. When developing water conservation strategies, the RWPGs must consider potentially applicable best management practices. Strategy evaluation in accordance with this section shall include a quantitative description of the quantity, cost, and reliability of the water estimated to be conserved under the highest practicable level of water conservation and efficiency achievable.

    (D) RWPGs shall consider strategies to address any issues identified in the information compiled by the Board from the water loss audits performed by Retail Public Utilities pursuant to §358.6 of this title (relating to Water Loss Audits).

  (3) RWPGs shall recommend Gallons Per Capita Per Day goal(s) for each municipal WUG or specified groupings of municipal WUGs. Goals must be recommended for each planning decade and may be a specific goal or a range of values. At a minimum, the RWPs shall include Gallons Per Capita Per Day goals based on drought conditions to align with guidance principles in §358.3 of this title (relating to Guidance Principles).

(j) RWPs shall include a subchapter consolidating the RWPG's recommendations regarding water conservation. RWPGs shall include in the RWPs model Water Conservation Plans pursuant to Texas Water Code §11.1271.


Source Note: The provisions of this §357.34 adopted to be effective August 12, 2012, 37 TexReg 5797; amended to be effective December 8, 2016, 41 TexReg 9589; amended to be effective June 28, 2020, 45 TexReg 4211

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