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Section 3: State Statutes and Rules Governing Hydraulic Design

As with Federal laws, TxDOT must comply with State regulations and statutes. This chapter explains some of the relevant state regulations. It is not an exhaustive discussion of state regulations that could affect TxDOT hydraulic design.

The following subsections discuss:

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Texas Water Code Chapter 11

Section 11.021

The Texas Water Code Section 11.021 states that the water of the ordinary flow, underflow, and tides of every flowing river, natural stream, and lake, and of every bay or arm of the Gulf of Mexico, and the storm water, floodwater, and rainwater of every river, natural stream, canyon, ravine, depression, and watershed in the state is the property of the state. Water imported from any source outside the boundaries of the state for use in the state and which is transported through the beds and banks of any navigable stream within the state or by utilizing any facilities owned or operated by the state is the property of the state.

Section 11.086

The Texas Water Code Sections 11.086 states that no person may divert or impound the natural flow of surface waters in Texas, or permit a diversion or impoundment to continue, in a manner that damages the property of another by the overflow of the water diverted or impounded. A person whose property is injured by an overflow of water caused by an unlawful diversion or impoundment has remedies at law and in equity and may recover damages occasioned by the overflow.

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Texas Water Code Chapter 16 Subchapter I

Texas Water Code Chapter 16, Subchapter I establishes the positive interest of the State of Texas in the NFIP. TxDOT is an entity of the state and is prohibited from obtaining permits from subordinate jurisdictions. Also, the State of Texas (and therefore TxDOT) is not a participating community in the NFIP. TxDOT will, however, work with communities to prevent flood damage and minimize impacts, as obligated by this statute. See Chapter 5 for more information.

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Title 30 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 299

Regulation of the Texas Dam Safety Program was established by the TCEQ and is contained in 30 TAC Chapter 299, which provides for the safe construction, maintenance, repair and removal of dams in Texas.

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Title 43 Texas Administrative Code Rule 15.54(e)

This section of the TAC describes the conditions under which state, federal and local financing of drainage construction costs are to be shared. In general TxDOT’s responsibility includes:

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  • Constructing drainage systems, including outfalls, within the state right of way
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  • Adjusting or relocating existing drainage channels when necessary
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  • Adjusting structures and channels to accommodate any approved drainage plan.

Although TxDOT can adjust a facility to accommodate public improvement works that directly benefit the operation of the highway, it is not required to make changes to highway facilities just to accommodate development in the drainage area.

Parties wishing to discharge drainage onto or across the state highway right of way, where there is no existing drainage system, must obtain approval from TxDOT and provide design, construction, and maintenance costs. Local governments wanting to connect to a TxDOT drainage system must first have approval from TxDOT, and then must bear the cost of collecting and carrying its water to the TxDOT system as well as contribute a share of the TxDOT system costs.

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Memoranda of Understanding (State)

The Texas Transportation Code, 201.607 requires TxDOT to adopt a MOU with each state agency that has responsibility for protection of the natural environment or for preservation of historical or archeological resources. Environmental documents that meet MOU criteria are sent to these agencies for review and comment.

One MOU significant to TxDOT Hydraulic Design is the agreement between TxDOT and the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission (TNRCC), now the TCEQ, which acknowledges that TxDOT is complying with minimum NFIP regulations in the work that it conducts in flood hazard areas.

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Texas Executive Order D.B. No. 34

This 1977 Executive Order, Evaluation of Flood Hazard in Locating State Owned or Financed Buildings, Roads, and Other Facilities, was signed to bring the State of Texas into compliance with Presidentail Executive Order 11988.

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