Water Law: An Overview of Nonprofit Water Supply Corporations

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly recognized access to water and sanitation as a human right. Their resolution called upon states and organizations to help all countries – precisely those still in development – to provide the necessary resources to deliver safe, clean and accessible water for all.

In Texas, groundwater (water found beneath the ground’s surface in soil or between rocks) commonly belongs to the landowner. The property owner has the right to collect any water that runs underneath their land to use or sell as private property. This water can be used for personal, domestic, agricultural and industrial purposes. Water law, in essence, outlines who can use groundwater, how much they can use and when, where and for what reasons they use it for. Water law applies to a single individual as well as large water distributors.

Non-profit water supply corporations come into the picture as they pump and collect water to distribute to public, private or other entities.

Have the McAllen lawyers of Fryer and Hansen, PLLC give you more information about your legal water rights.

What Are Non-Profit Water Supply Corporations?

According to our own Brian Hansen, he and his team primarily serve non-profit water supply corporations when it comes to water law. As per Texas Water Code Section 67.002, a water corporation can be created to provide “(1) water supply, sewer service or both for a municipality, a private corporation, an individual or a military camp or base; and (2) flood control and drainage system for a political subdivision, private corporation or another person.”

These corporations are sometimes referred to as “Water Supply or Sewer Service Corporations” (WSCs). They are non-profits governed by members of a board of directors, whom are elected by the members of the corporation. Typically, they are granted funds from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). Other means of funding include contributions from developers or private financing.

Individuals whose water supply is currently being administered by one of these corporations can alternatively choose to supply their own water. For example, one can choose to drill a water well, build their own septic system for sewer services or find a different provider. Doing so may require the approval of the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT).

Although our McAllen lawyers usually oversee cases of water supply corporations, they can also assist the general public with questions and concerns pertaining to the different areas of Texas water law.

“We can represent municipalities, water distributors [and] spike corporations,” Hansen said. “[We can] help individuals who have issues with their water service or are requiring water rights, or anything that has to do with receiving water service.”

Legal Rights of Water Supply Corporations

Non-profit water supply corporations have the essential role in society to provide water or sewer services to a variety of entities for multiple purposes. These corporations have been granted special authority over what they can do to have a fully functioning company. Texas Water Code Section 67.011 allows these corporations to do the following:

  1. Own, hold, lease or acquire water wells, springs or other water supply sources.
  2. Build, operate and maintain pipelines for water transport or wastewater.
  3. Build and operate plants and equipment needed for the distribution of water or for treating and disposing of wastewater.
  4. Sell water or provide wastewater services to a political subdivision, a private corporation or an individual.

Some corporations may also choose to exercise their philanthropic right of giving their customers the option to voluntarily donate to a fire department or emergency medical service.

How We Can Help You

Whether you’re the director of a non-profit water supply corporation, a commercial and residential real-estate developer or an independent property owner, the seasoned attorneys of Fryer and Hansen, PLLC can offer useful information directly pertaining to your individual circumstances. Contact our McAllen office for a free consultation today.

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