Water Bank & Water Trust Barney Austin Surface Water Resources Division Texas Water Development Board May 21, 2004
In 1993, the 73rd Texas Legislature Created the Texas Water Bank: Codified under § 15.702 in 1993. Purpose: The Texas Water Bank was created as a mechanism to allow for and assist in the voluntary transfer of water rights between willing buyers and sellers.
In 1997, the 75rd Texas Legislature Created the Texas Water Trust: • Codified under § 15.7031 in 1198. • Purpose: The Texas Water Trust was established within the water bank to hold water rights dedicated to environmental needs, including instream flows, water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, or bay and estuary inflows.
Water Bank Activities • It was operational in 1994. • Several actual ‘deposits’ and various listings in the Registry since 1994. • Published A Texan’s Guide To Water and Water Rights Marketing.
Water Bank Operation • The water bank facilitates the marketing and transfer of water and water rights by posting requests to purchase and/or sell water on its website. 1. Accepts Water Bank Deposits ($50 deposit fee + 0.9% of sale price, if sold) 2. Maintains a Registry of Sellers (no vetting, no fee) 3. Maintains a Registry of Buyers (no vetting, no fee) • Water rights deposited in the Water Bank are protected from cancellation for a single 10-year period. • All Water Bank fees are waived for Water Trust deposits.
Water Bank/Trust Transactions • The one transaction completed through the Water Bank occurred in 1997. A water supply corporation leased 396 acre-ft of agricultural water rights on the San Marcos for municipal supply. • The first and only deposit to the Water Trust occurred in August of 2003. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (owner) deposited 1,236 acre-ft of Rio Grande agricultural water rights in perpetuity.
Water Trust Administration Water rights placed in the Water Trust must be amended (by adding ‘instream uses’) and approved by TCEQ with additional input and consultation from: • Texas Water Development Board • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department • Texas Department of Agriculture