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The bill would require the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to conduct a study regarding the development of a market and conveyance network for water in Texas. Multiple factors would be evaluated, including connecting the establishment,construction, operation,and management of a water grid to the state water planning process. The study would be completed, including a 30- day public comment period on a draft report,and submitted to the Legislature by September 1, 2016.
According to TWDB,conducting the study would require contracting professional technical services. TWDB estimates the cost to complete the requirements of the bill would be $2 million out of the General Revenue Fund. The bill would take effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all members elected to each house. Otherwise, the bill would take effect September 1, 2015.
HB 3298, if passed, would require the Texas Water Development Board to conduct a study related to the development of a market and conveyance network for water in this state. The bill is composed of six sections which are as follows.
Section one is a simple statement of legislative findings which notes that water is a very important resource for the state and that water efficiency should be a major goal. Section two notes that any mention if the “board” refers to the Texas Water Development Board.
Section three outlines what the contents of the study would be including examination of methods of developing an efficient water market, notes on water markets within and outside the United States, potential sources of water for the water grid involving water use in a variety of contexts, alternative facilities with varying capacities, strategies for the water grid which would achieve optimal efficiency, alternative methods of construction, operation, maintenance and control, and methods of funding and conveying existing and future water conveyance methods.
This section also requires that the Texas Water Development Board consult with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, The Public Utility Commission of Texas, the Railroad Commission of Texas, and the General Land Office. It also requires that the Board allow the public an opportunity to submit written testimony for consideration.
Section four gives a due date for the report of September 1st 2016. Section five notes that this bill would expire on September 17th 2017. Section seven notes that the effective date for this legislation would be September 1st 2015.
We agree with the stated intentions of this bill and the findings of Section One; that water management is a legitimate concern and function of the state. The development of an effective water market and conveyance systems would almost certainly allow for Texas to more efficiently manage its water resources. We hope that such developments will come to fruition. The goal, reasoning, and justification are legitimate. However we doubt that $2,000,000 on the proposed study is an efficient use of state funds. And, ultimately, because HB 3298, merely authorizes a study, as opposed to creating a market or conveyance system, we are neutral on HB 3298.