2007 Texas Attorney General Reports and Opinions 1 (2007)

handle is hein.sag/sagtx0088 and id is 1 raw text is: ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
GREG ABBOTT
January 9, 2007
The Honorable Harvey Hilderbran                OpinionNo. GA-0498
Chair, Committee on Culture, Recreation,
and Tourism                                Re: Whether the Edwards Aquifer Authority may
Texas House of Representatives                 reduce groundwater withdrawal permit amounts
Post Office Box 2910                           for certain permit holders below   the amount
Austin, Texas 78768-2910                       specified in section 1.16(e) of the Authority's
enabling act when, if all permitted amounts are
withdrawn, over 450,000 acre-feet of water will
be withdrawn from the aquifer in a calendar year
(RQ-0469-GA)
Dear Representative Hilderbran:
You ask about the power of the Edwards Aquifer Authority (the Authority) to reduce
groundwater withdrawal permit amounts for certain permit holders below the amount specified in
section 1.16(e) of the Authority's enabling act when, if all of the permitted amounts are withdrawn,
more than 450,000 acre-feet' of water will be withdrawn from the Edwards Aquifer in a calendar
year.2 We understand you to be particularly concerned about (1) existing irrigation users who, under
section 1.16(e), are to receive permits that allow the withdrawal of not less than two acre-feet of
water a year for each acre of land the user actually irrigated during the historical period' (whom we
will refer to as irrigation users) and (2) existing aquifer users who have operated wells for three
or more years during the historical period and whose permits, under section 1.16(e), are to allow
withdrawal of the average amount of water withdrawn annually during the historical period (whom
we will refer to as averagers). See Act of May 30, 1993, 73d Leg., R.S., ch. 626,  1.16(e), 1993
Tex. Gen. Laws 2350, 2361 [hereinafter the Act].
'An acre-foot is the amount of water that would cover an acre of land to one foot, approximately 325,850
gallons. Barshop v. Medina County Underground Water Conservation Dist., 925 S.W.2d 618, 624 n.1 (Tex. 1996),
'See Letter from Honorable Harvey Hilderbran, Chair, Committee on Culture, Recreation, and Tourism, Texas
House of Representatives, to Honorable Greg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas (Mar. 16, 2006) (on file with the
Opinion Committee, also available at http://www.oag.state.tx.us) [hereinafter Request Letter].
'An applicant for a regular permit must file a declaration of historical use of underground water withdrawn
from the aquifer during the historical period from June 1, 1972, through May 31, 1993. Act of May 30, 1993, 73d Leg.,
R.S., ch. 626,  1.16(a), 1993 Tex. Gen. Laws 2350,2361. We use the term historical period throughout this opinion
to refer to the 21 -year period beginning June 1, 1972 and ending May 31, 1993.

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