Brackish Groundwater Production Zones

BRACS Study Areas

In 2015, the 84th Texas Legislature passed House Bill 30, directing the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to (1) identify and designate brackish groundwater production zones in the state, (2) determine the volumes of groundwater that a brackish groundwater production zone can produce over 30- and 50-year periods without causing significant impact to water availability or water quality, (3) make recommendations on reasonable monitoring to observe the effects of brackish groundwater production within the zone, (4) work with groundwater conservation districts and stakeholders in general, and (5) provide a summary of brackish groundwater production zone designations in the biennial report due December 1 of each even-numbered year. Furthermore, the TWDB had to designate brackish groundwater production zones in four specific aquifers by December 1, 2016, and the remaining aquifers in the state by December 1, 2022. Funding was also provided in Rider 26 in House Bill 1 by the 84th Texas Legislature to implement House Bill 30, but state funds were reduced in June 2017.

In 2019, the 86th Texas Legislature restored funding for the BRACS Program with the passage of Rider 24 in House Bill 1, which appropriated $2 million to the TWDB for contract and administrative costs to support designation of brackish groundwater production zones in aquifers of the state, excluding the Dockum Aquifer. The 86th Texas Legislature also passed Senate Bill 1041 that extended the deadline to complete zone designations from December 1, 2022, to December 1, 2032, and House Bill 722 that established a permitting framework for developing water supplies from TWDB-designated brackish groundwater productions zones.

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