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An Act Relating To Special Districts; Enacting The Regional Water Utility Authority Act; Providing For The Creation Of Authorities; Providing For A Board Of Directors; Providing Powers And Duties Of The Authority And Board; Authorizing Joint Powers Agreements; Providing For Transfer Of Assets And Liabilities; Allowing For Fees, Charges, Rates And Tolls; Providing For Elections; Authorizing The Issuance Of Revenue Bonds; Providing For Liens And Foreclosures; Allowing Regulation Of Water Use And Domestic Wells; Granting Eminent Domain Power And The Power To Own, Improve And Dispose Of Property; Granting Exclusive Right To Provide Service; Requiring Mandatory Hook-ups To Authority Facilities Within The Service Area Of The Authority; Excepting Authorities From Public Regulation Commission Jurisdiction; Amending A Section Of Law Pertaining To Domestic Well Permits; Prescribing Civil Penalties

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MOD SB 204

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SB 204 on
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SCC Committee Report
Fiscal Impact Report

This bill enacts the Regional Water Utility Authority Act providing for the creation of regional water utility authorities for the purposes of:

  • purchasing, acquiring, establishing or constructing waterworks and wastewater systems;
  • planning, developing, managing, maintaining or coordinating regional water and wastewater facilities;
  • infrastructure development of renewable energy projects; and
  • implementing storm water management strategies to control flooding and erosion and to minimize water pollution.


A regional entity or two or more entities (political subdivisions, municipal corporations or tribal governments) may organize a regional water utility authority. Each incorporating entity must individually adopt a resolution signifying its intention to organize an authority after a public hearing has been held and notice of the public hearing published at least 30 days prior to the hearing date.


An authority has the exclusive right to provide water and wastewater services within the service area served by that authority as long as:

(1)      a person providing water or wastewater services to customers within the authority’s service area as of the date the authority is incorporated may continue to serve those customers; and

(2)      an extension of water or wastewater service by such person that is planned and fully funded as of the date the authority is incorporated and is completed within 18 months of that date shall be excluded from the authority’s service area.


The authority’s board may regulate and restrict the use of water within the authority’s service area. The authority has jurisdiction over new domestic water wells within the service area and may, subject to some conditions, restrict the drilling of new domestic water wells. The board has the power to compel the owners of inhabited property within the service area of the authority to connect their property with the water or wastewater system of the authority. Upon failure to connect within 90 days after written notice by the board, the board may cause the connection to be made and a lien to be filed against the property for the expense incurred in making the connection.


An authority is subject to the applicable rules of the Department of Environment, the State

Engineer and the Department of Finance and Administration.


Revenue bonds may be issued by the authority for acquiring real and personal property needed for an authority project, including the purchase of water rights; or for extending, enlarging, bettering, repairing or otherwise improving a water or wastewater project. The bonds authorized by the act and the income from the bonds will be exempt from all taxation by the state or any political subdivision of the state.


An authority organized under the provisions of the Regional Water Utility Authority Act is not subject to the jurisdiction of the PRC or the terms and provisions of the Public Utility Act.


A potential benefit of this bill might be that it will facilitate enhanced regional water and wastewater systems and infrastructure. A potential concern might be that the act gives the authorities broad powers with relatively little regulatory oversight.