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RULE §288.21Drought Contingency Plans for Irrigation Use

(a) A drought contingency plan for an irrigation use, where applicable, must include the following minimum elements.

  (1) Minimum requirements. Drought contingency plans for irrigation water suppliers must include policies and procedures for the equitable and efficient allocation of water on a pro rata basis during times of shortage in accordance with Texas Water Code, §11.039. Such plans shall include the following elements as a minimum.

    (A) Preparation of the plan shall include provisions to actively inform and to affirmatively provide opportunity for users of water from the irrigation system to provide input into the preparation of the plan and to remain informed of the plan. Such acts may include, but are not limited to, having a public meeting at a time and location convenient to the water users and providing written notice to the water users concerning the proposed plan and meeting.

    (B) The drought contingency plan must document coordination with the regional water planning groups to ensure consistency with the appropriate approved regional water plans.

    (C) The drought contingency plan must include water supply criteria and other considerations for determining when to initiate or terminate water allocation procedures, accompanied by an explanation of the rationale or basis for such triggering criteria.

    (D) The drought contingency plan must include specific, quantified targets for water use reductions to be achieved during periods of water shortage and drought. The entity preparing the plan shall establish the targets. The goals established by the entity under this subparagraph are not enforceable.

    (E) The drought contingency plan must include methods for determining the allocation of irrigation supplies to individual users.

    (F) The drought contingency plan must include a description of the information to be monitored by the water supplier and the procedures to be followed for the initiation or termination of water allocation policies.

    (G) The drought contingency plan must include procedures for use accounting during the implementation of water allocation policies.

    (H) The drought contingency plan must include policies and procedures, if any, for the transfer of water allocations among individual users within the water supply system or to users outside the water supply system.

    (I) The drought contingency plan must include procedures for the enforcement of water allocation policies, including specification of penalties for violations of such policies and for wasteful or excessive use of water.

  (2) Wholesale water customers. Any irrigation water supplier that receives all or a portion of its water supply from another water supplier shall consult with that supplier and shall include in the drought contingency plan, appropriate provisions for responding to reductions in that water supply.

  (3) Protection of public water supplies. Any irrigation water supplier that also provides or delivers water to a public water supplier(s) shall consult with that public water supplier(s) and shall include in the plan, mutually agreeable and appropriate provisions to ensure an uninterrupted supply of water necessary for essential uses relating to public health and safety. Nothing in this provision shall be construed as requiring the irrigation water supplier to transfer irrigation water supplies to non-irrigation use on a compulsory basis or without just compensation.

(b) Irrigation water users shall review and update, as appropriate, the drought contingency plan, at least every five years, based on new or updated information, such as adoption or revision of the regional water plan.

Source Note: The provisions of this §288.21 adopted to be effective February 21, 1999, 24 TexReg 949; amended to be effective April 27, 2000, 25 TexReg 3544; amended to be effective October 7, 2004, 29 TexReg 9384

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