HB 31

85(R) - 2017
House Natural Resources
Senate Agriculture, Water, & Rural Affairs
House Natural Resources
Senate Agriculture, Water, & Rural Affairs
Groundwater Conservation Districts  
Special Districts

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral


Lyle Larson


Pat Fallon


Charles Perry

Bill Caption

Relating to the regulation of groundwater.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

Under current law, groundwater conservation districts require certain information to be included in an application for a permit (such as the applicant’s address or the purpose and amount of water use) in order for it to be considered “administratively complete.” HB 31 would require that any additional information a district requires for a permit application to be included in a district rule and be reasonably related to the permit. This bill would also clarify language related to groundwater exporting and prohibit a district from imposing a moratorium on permitting unless notice is granted and a hearing is conducted. Moratoriums would be limited to 90 days.

HB 31 would also explicitly recognize the right of a landowner to use groundwater for beneficial use and without causing waste. In addition, a district's offices and meetings would be required to be reasonably accessible to the public and certain requirements for a district's management plan would be eliminated.

The degree to which previously adopted desired future conditions are being achieved would have to be considered in the adoption of new desired future conditions. This bill would also require that districts consider any unreasonable affects on registered wells that are otherwise exempt from permitting requirements in evaluating a proposed use of water.

Vote Recommendation Notes

This bill supports the principle of limited government by increasing transparency and accountability with respect to offices, meetings, the information required for permit applications, and moratoriums on such permits. In addition, this bill supports the principle of private property rights by explicitly recognizing certain groundwater usage rights. For these reasons, we support HB 31.

Organizations Supporting

Canadian River Municipal Water Authority
Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority
Lower Colorado River Authority
Texas Alliance of Energy Producers
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association
Texas Association of Builders
Texas Association of Business
Texas Association of Groundwater Owners and Producers
Texas Conservative Coalition
Texas Desalination Association
Texas Farm Bureau
Texas Oil and Gas Association

Organizations Opposed

League of Independent Voters of Texas
Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops