Mayor's Office Press Release
Mayor Turner Calls Ruling "A Very Important Victory for Houston and All Texas Cities"
December 23, 2019 -- On December 20, 2019, a Travis County district court ruled that HB 2846 is unconstitutional. The state law would have forced the City to transfer its ownership interest in the Allens Creek Reservoir project to the Brazos River Authority by January 1, 2020.
House Bill 2846 forced the sale of irreplaceable surface water to the Brazos River Authority without any option to replace the invaluable resource for Houstonians and retroactively abrogated the City’s permit and contract rights. The Court agreed with the City that HB 2846 is unconstitutional because it violates article I, section 16 (prohibiting retroactive laws), article XI, sections 5 and 9 (prohibiting forced sales of municipal property held for public use), and article III, section 56(a) and (b) (prohibiting local laws) of the Texas Constitution.
At the same time, the Court dismissed all claims by the Brazos River Authority, which sought to enforce the unconstitutional law.
“This a very important victory for Houston and all Texas cities and towns. Fresh water is an irreplaceable resource and the City has for years carefully planned and acquired scarce and very valuable water rights to ensure that the City, its residents, and businesses have sufficient water resources to enable the City to grow and prosper in this century and beyond,' Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "House Bill 2846 punished the City’s foresight and endangered Houston’s and all Texas cities’ water supplies and future growth. No city would have been safe had the bill been allowed to withstand constitutional scrutiny. The City will continue to fight to protect the City’s irreplaceable resources.”