Why is regional
water planning needed?
In June 1997, Governor George W. Bush signed into law Senate Bill 1,
a comprehensive water legislation enacted by the 75th Texas
This comprehensive water legislation was an outgrowth of increased
awareness of the vulnerability of Texas to drought and to the limits
of existing water supplies to meet increasing demands as population
The state's population is expected to increase from its current
level of about 29 million to more than 51 million people by the year
With passage of SB 1, the Legislature put in place a "bottom up"
planning process designed to ensure that the water needs of all
are met as Texas enters the 21st century.
SB 1 allows individuals representing twelve interest groups to serve
as members of Regional Water Planning Groups (RWPG) to prepare
water plans for their respective areas. These plans will map out how
conserve water supplies, meet future water supply needs and respond
future droughts in the planning areas.
The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) must approve and
the regional water plans into a comprehensive state water plan. The
water plans will be updated every five years.
Who is preparing regional water plans?
Each Regional Water Planning Group is responsible for preparing and
adopting a regional water plan for its area. Each Group hires
consultants to assist with developing the engineering,
hydrological, environmental, legal and institutional components of
regional water plans.
Each Group must provide for public input in the planning process,
hold public meetings and furnish a draft report of the plan for
review and comment. Each regional water plan addresses the needs of
water users and suppliers, except certain political subdivisions
decide not to participate.
What are the steps in preparing a regional water plan?
The planning process begins with the collection and analyses of many
types of information related to water demands and supplies.
RWPG members are responsible for deciding how future water needs in
their respective region may be met. Each regional water plan will
include information about water supplies and demand, water quality
problems affecting water supply, and social and economic
characteristics of the region.
The plan also will identify water supply threats to agriculture and
natural resources. Information concerning current preparations for
drought and the status of other water plans in the region will be
The following tasks are common to each regional water plan:
- Determine water demands
- Determine water supplies available for use during drought of
- Determine where and when there is a surplus of supply or a need
- Determine social and economic impact of not meeting needs
- Develop plans that contain specific strategies to meet future
near-term needs (less than 30 years), options to meet long-term
needs (30-50 years) , and identified needs with no feasible solutions
- Identify ecologically unique streams and rivers
- Identify unique sites for reservoir construction
- Coordinate with neighboring regions concerning mutual interests
- Propose regulatory, administrative or legislative recommendations
improve water resource management in the state.
What don't regional water plans do?
- Regional water plans do not change existing water law. Legislative
action is needed for such changes.
- Regional water plans do not affect existing water rights or
- Regional water plans do not force water management strategies on
entity. If a proposed water management strategy is objectionable to
political subdivision supplying or receiving water supplies, then
strategy will not be included in the plan as a strategy for meeting
need of the objecting political subdivision. The entity must specify
its reasons for objecting to a proposed water management strategy,
the strategy may still be applied to meet other needs.
How can I participate in the regional water planning efforts?
To participate in regional water planning efforts, you may attend
of the RWPG meetings or contact regional group members or the TWDB
voice your concerns or to obtain additional information. Also, you
visit the TWDB web site at www.twdb.state.tx.us to learn more about