Senate Bill 1 (SB 1)
In response to the statewide drought of 1996, the Texas Legislature enacted comprehensive water policy legislation in 1997. Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), also known as the Brown-Lewis Water Plan after its authors, addresses a broad range of water policy issues including:
The primary purpose of SB 1 is to improve the state's preparedness for future droughts through better planning, development, management and conservation of limited water resources. Other goals are to provide an adequate water supply at a reasonable cost to ensure the public's health, safety, and welfare, as well as to promote further economic development and protect the state's agricultural and natural resources.
The Texas Water Development Board charged all regional water planning groups with developing policy as an integral part of the second round of planning. In an October 2003 questionnaire, the Rio Grande RWPG ranked issues as to their importance to the region.
Planning group meetings include presentations that review current information on a specific issue, identify options for action, and develop policy statements/positions. These policy statements are included in the regional plan.
Mexican Water Deficit
Once again, Mexico is failing to deliver water to the Lower Rio Grande Valley, exacerbating ongoing drought conditions and threatening supplies not only to irrigated agriculture but also municipalities in the region. As of the October 5, 2013, Mexico is short more than 289,000 acre-feet due in the current five-year cycle that ends October 2015. Click here for news updates and developments as tracked by the Rio Grande Regional Water Authority (RGRWA).
Provisions of the 1944 Treaty between the U.S. and Mexico require both countries to maintain certain inflows into the Rio Grande and the Colorado River. These provisions are summarized by Region M Chair Glenn Jarvis in the July/August 2013 issue of Irrigation Leader seen here. The article is reprinted here with permission.
Additional documents and information on the deficit are available on the TCEQ Mexican water deficit website.
Water user groups within Region M increasingly are looking at groundwater as an alternative supply to surface water. The Rio Grande RWPG amended the plan in mid-2003 to include desalination of brackish groundwater.
At its March 15, 2004, meeting, the group also considered a variety of issues related to groundwater development and use, including a resolution (PDF, 110 kb) urging the General Land Office to adhere to the regional water planning process as it considers sales or leases of groundwater under state lands.
A position statement on groundwater policy issues was approved at the May 26, 2004, meeting of the Rio Grande RWPG.