Senate Committee on Water Policy, Select

Committee Information
Chair Members:
Clerk: Kelly Gilbert
Tel: (512) 463-0390

Schedule, Minutes, Witness List and Bills Referred to Committee Schedule, Minutes, Witness List and Bills Referred to Committee

Video/Audio Archives


Interim Charges

The Committee shall:

  1. Study all issues related to ground and surface water law, policy and management, including, but not limited to:
    • the role of federal, state, regional and local governments, and their coordination in setting consistent, nondiscriminatory water policies;
    • the authority of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) as it relates to water contracts;
    • the role of the Edwards Aquifer Authority;
    • the role of groundwater conservation districts;
    • regional water planning process;
    • conjunctive use of both ground and surface water resources;
    • rule of capture;
    • historic use standards;
    • water infrastructure and financing,
    • interbasin transfers;
    • junior water rights;
    • conservation;
    • water quality standards;
    • drought preparedness; and
    • water marketing.
  2. Subcommittee on the Lease of State Water Rights: Study proposals to lease permanent school fund and permanent university lands and their water rights for the purposes of developing and marketing water.
    • Analyze the present and future effects of such proposals on local aquifers, historic stream flows, local underground water conservation districts, and other public and private water interests.
    • Study the process by which the General Land Office considers proposals to lease state water rights, including methodology for holding open meetings, obtaining public input, meeting competitive bidding requirements, and coordination with TCEQ and other governmental units with possible regulatory oversight.
    • Study and evaluate the current and future value of water rights that may be leased to private entities, including the value to state, residential and commercial interests.
  3. Monitor the three on-going demonstration desalination projects by the Texas Water Development Board as one step toward securing an abundant water supply to meet Texas' future water supply needs. Study regulatory barriers that impair cost effectiveness of desalination (coastal and brackish) and how to facilitate use of this water source by municipalities


The committee shall submit copies of its final report no later than December 1, 2004. The printing of reports should be coordinated through the Secretary of the Senate. Copies of the final report should be sent to the Lieutenant Governor (5 copies), Secretary of the Senate, Senate Research, Legislative Budget Board, Legislative Council, and Legislative Reference Library.

The final report should include recommended statutory or agency rulemaking changes, if applicable. Such recommendations must be approved by a majority of the voting members of the Committee. Recommendations should also include state and local fiscal cost estimates, where feasible. The Legislative Budget Board is available to assist in this regard.

The following report is available for download:

* You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the reports, click here to download a free copy.

Budget and Staff

The Committee shall seek administrative and policy staff support from the staff of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Travel costs shall be paid from the operating budgets of Senate members. All other costs shall be borne be the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

The Committee should also seek the assistance of legislative and executive branch agencies where appropriate.

Interim Appointments

Pursuant to Section 301.041, Government Code, it may be necessary to change the membership of a committee if a member is not returning to the Legislature in 2005. This will ensure that the work of interim committees is carried forward into the 79th Legislative Session.

Related Links

See also the Subcommittee on the Lease of State Water Rights web page for more information.