SECTION 16. TRANSFER OF GROUNDWATER OUT OF DISTRICT
RULE 16.1 Requirements:
A permit to drill a new well that will be used to transport groundwater out of the District, or a permit to transfer groundwater out of the District from existing wells shall adhere to the Rules of Mesa Underground Water Conservation District. The District Management Plan states, “The District is aware of the needs for municipal water use throughout Texas. Likewise, the District is mindful of the rights of groundwater owners to market their resource. As a result, the District will do everything possible to protect all water users under our permitting process with strict requirements that promote fair and equitable spacing and production limitations. The District supports the beneficial use of groundwater inside or outside the District providing all conditions are consistent with District Rules. District Rule 6.1 Maximum Allowable Production, as it applies to in-district use, shall apply equally to a “Transport/Operating Permit”.
rULE 16.2 Administrative Fee:
A $500 application-processing fee will accompany each application for a permit to transfer groundwater out of the District. The processing fee is to offset the additional cost for studies necessary to meet the requirements in Texas Water Code Chapter 36.122(f).
RULE 16.3 “Transport Permit”:
A permit to transfer groundwater out of the District shall be known as a “Transport Permit”. The person as defined in Rule 1.1(u), responsible for exporting the groundwater out of the district through any conveyance system is required to obtain the “Transport Permit” and shall be known as the applicant/holder of such permit. A “Transport Permit” may only transport groundwater produced pursuant to an Operation Permit issued under the provisions of District Rule Section 10. As provided by District Rule 10.3 and 10.4, any new well drilled or existing well(s) operated under Section 16 must obtain an “Operating Permit” and shall install and maintain a water meter on the well/well system and operate the well/well system under the requirements described in Rule 7.3 Procedure Following Establishment of PUMA as if it were located within a Production Use Measurement Area (PUMA).
RULE 16.4 Decision And Issuance Of Permit:
In reviewing a proposed transfer of groundwater out of the District (“Transport Permit”), and in setting the terms of the permit, the Board shall consider the District Rules, District Management Plan, Regional Management Plan, and provisions in Texas Water Code Chapter 36.122 Transfer of Groundwater Out of District (f) (1) “the availability of water in the district and in the proposed receiving area during the period for which the water supply is requested; (2) the projected effect of the proposed transfer on aquifer conditions, depletion, subsidence, or effects on existing permit holders of other groundwater users within the district”.
A. The “Transport Permit” shall specify:
1. The amount of water that may be transferred out of the District
a. The amount of water for a “Transport Permit” will be calculated by using the formula described in Rule 7.3 (2) Procedure Following Establishment of PUMA (Operating permit calculation)
b. The Board will approve operating permits for four (4) acre feet for each acre owned or operated, not to exceed 2,560 acre feet per numbered Section, or not to exceed 2,832 acre feet per four (4) contiguous Labor in the same League.
c. Operating permits will indicate the number of acres for the permit multiplied by the four (4) acre feet to establish the total acre-feet for the operating permit.
d. Operating permits will indicate the total acre-feet allowed by the permit multiplied by 325,800 gallons to establish the total gallons for the permit.
e. The amount of water transported out of District on an Operating permit must always be consistent with District Rule Section 6. Production Limitations.
2. The period for which groundwater may be transferred out of the District shall be in compliance with Texas Water Code Chapter 36.122(i).
a. At least three (3) years if construction of a conveyance system has not been initiated prior to the issuance of the “Transport Permit.”
b. At least 30 years if construction of a conveyance system has been initiated prior to the issuance of the permit
c. The three (3) year term shall automatically be extended to a 30-year term provided the construction of a conveyance system is begun before the expiration of the original term.
B. The “Transport Permit” is required to operate under the requirements of Rule 7.3 Procedure Following Establishment of PUMA (4) Enforcement of Rules.
1. It is violation of Rule 6.1 (b) and Rule 16.4 (A)(1)(a) to exceed the operating permit
2. It is violation of Rule 10.2 (b) to operate a well/well system without an operating permit application filed with the District and the operating permit for the well/well system must be approved and remain permitted until an operating permit is no longer required for the well/well system or the 30 year term of the permit has expired.
3. District Rules will be enforced by Rule 15.3.
As defined in Texas Water Code Chapter 36.122 (q), Mesa UWCD shall be shall be fair, impartial, and nondiscriminatory by implementing the same Operating permit provisions to all water users. In implementing Texas Water Code Chapter 36.122 (c) the District is imposing the same (not more restrictive) permit conditions on transporters that it does on existing in-district users.
RULE 16.5 Exceptions:
A. Grandfathered Transfers:
“Transport Permit” will not be required for groundwater transferred out of District under a continuing agreement that was in effect prior to March 2, 1997.
B. Increase of Transfer Amount:
“Transport Permit” shall be required for any increase in the amount of groundwater to be transferred under the continuing agreement or the establishment of a new agreement.
RULE 16.6 Export Fee:
A. Reason for Fee:
The District shall impose a fee to the applicant/holder of a “Transport Permit” for groundwater that will be transferred out of the District. Revenue obtained from this fee will not be used to prohibit the transfer of groundwater outside the District as mandated in Texas Water Code 36.122(l). The revenue received will be utilized to increase the monitoring of groundwater quantity and quality and other projects necessary to protect and conserve the groundwater.
B. Annual Fee Accessed:
The applicant/holder of a “Transport Permit” shall remit to the District prior to obtaining the approved annual “Transport Permit” one-half (½) of the projected annual export fee. The remaining one-half (½) projected annual export fee shall be adjusted after the first six (6) months of operation of the “Transport Permit” to more closely coincide with the actual measurement of groundwater pumped for export. The amount of the adjusted export fee shall be paid to the District within 20 days after the mid year export fee adjustments have been calculated and presented to the permit holder. Any adjustments that may have arisen to the export fee in the last six (6) months of operation of the “Transport Permit” shall be calculated and settled in the initial payment of the export fee for the beginning of the newly approved “Transport Permit.”
C. How Rate is Assessed:
The export fee shall be assessed at the rate equivalent to Texas Water Code Chapter 36.122 (e) (2) which provides that “a rate not to exceed the equivalent of the district’s tax rate per hundred dollars of valuation for each thousand gallons of water transferred out of the district or 2.5 cents per thousand gallons of water, if the district assesses a tax rate less than 2.5 cents per hundred dollars of valuation”.
D. Alternate Method of Imposing Export Fee:
The Board may also choose an alternate method of imposing an export fee that would assess a fee negotiated between the District and the transporter, provided the circumstances concerning the transport of groundwater outside the District are such that the measurement of the groundwater being transported cannot be accurately calculated with a metering device because the water well is producing groundwater for multiple uses that may not be included in the transport of groundwater outside the District. The negotiated transport fee applies only when groundwater is being transported out of the District on a truckload basis. This negotiated fee shall be paid by the applicant/holder of the “Transport Permit” as described in Rule 16.6(a).
E. No Fee if Moved Within District:
The District shall not impose an export fee on groundwater that is pumped within the District and then moved outside the District if the water is to be utilized within the same numbered Section, or four (4) contiguous Labor in the same League upon which the ownership of the land surface and the ownership of said water rights are identical for the acres owned, operated or controlled.
F. The District shall not impose an export fee if for Domestic or Livestock:
On groundwater that is pumped within the District and then moved outside the District if the water is to be utilized for domestic and livestock and the ownership of the land surface and the ownership of said water rights are identical for the acres owned, operated or controlled.
G. The District shall not impose an export fee if used within the same lease or field.
On groundwater that is pumped within the District and then moved outside the District if the water is to be utilized within the same lease or field from which it was pumped.
It is a violation of the rules of subsection 16.6 for failure to pay the export fee as prescribed and punishable by civil penalties as provided by the District Rule 15.3.
I. Void Permits:
A violation of Rule 16 causes the “Transport Permit” to become null and void.