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View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 687 (Public) Filed Monday, April 26, 2021
Intro. by Yarborough, Brody, Arp.

Status: Re-ref to the Com on Environment, if favorable, Judiciary 4, if favorable, Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House (House action) (Apr 28 2021)
H 687

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Apr 26 2021 - View Summary

    Revises the definition of river basin in GS 143-215.22G. Now defines the term to mean the area within the State denoted by the cataloging unit or series of cataloging units organized by the US Geologic Survey, with 17 designated basins with identified cataloging units or series. Eliminates the previously identified river basins as designated on the specified 1991 map. 

    Amends GS 143-215.22L to require applicants for surface water transfer certificates issued pursuant to the statute to publish notice in a newspaper of general circulation in each city or county located in a state located in whole or in part of the surface drainage basin area of the source river basin, as now defined (previously those that fall within the are denoted by one of the specified cataloging units). Makes similar changes to require notice by first-class mail or electronic mail to governing bodies located within the source or receiving river basin of the proposed transfer. Requires an environmental impact statement to be prepared for any petition for a certificate, rather than requiring an environmental assessment for any petition, which previously required that the determination of whether an environmental impact statement is required to be made in accordance with the provisions of GS Chapter 113A, except for required environmental impact statements for any proposed transfer from one major river basin to another for which a certificate is required under the statute. Regarding final determination of whether to issue a certificate for the proposed transfer, no longer provides for preference for alternatives that would involve a transfer from one sub-basin to another within the major receiving river basin or for certificate conditions that provide for amendment of the certificate to transfer water from one sub-basin within the receiving major river basin. 

    Amends GS 143B-215.8B to require the Environmental Management Commission (Commission) to develop and implement a basinwide water resources management plan for each of the 17 major river basins in the State (previously named basinwide water quality management plan). Makes conforming changes throughout to refer to a water resources management plan. Requires the Commission to consider the cumulative impacts of previously specified actions, expanded to include (1) all activities across a river basin that impact surface water or groundwater quality and quantity, including all points of withdrawal, and all point sources and nonpoint sources of pollutants, including irrigation and herbicides for crops, public lawns and gardens, waste disposal sites, atmospheric deposition, and animal operations, among other previously specified sources; and (2) all surface water transfers into and from a river basing that are required to be registered under state law, current available surface water resources, available groundwater resources to the extent known by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), other withdrawals, instream flow needs and requirements, an estimate of return flows, inflow data, local water supply plans, and any other scientific and technical information DEQ deems relevant. Adds the following to the required content of management plans: (1) information and projections required for local water supply plans and a summary of water conservation and water reuse programs described in those plans; (2) potential conflicts and incompatibilities among the various local water supply plans and ways in which local water supply programs could be better coordinated; (3) identification of inadequate yields to meet use and projections; and (4) possible declaration of a Capacity Use Area where depletion is of concern. Provides for the revision of management plans every 10 years to also reflect changes in water quantity and advancements in conservation and reuse. 

    Amends GS 143-355(o) to no longer provide for DEQ to develop a schedule for basinwide hydrologic model development, and instead requires developing and updating basinwide hydrologic models in accordance with GS 143-215.8B(c). Now provides that a hydrologic model meeting the requirements of subsection (o) is not a rule and the Administrative Procedure Act does not apply to the development of a hydrologic model, with conforming deletions of previous approval and modification procedures. Adds a new exemption to not require the use of existing hydrologic models if there are one or more registered transfers; instead requires DEQ to develop a single hydrologic model for all the basins with the registered transfers and coordinate modeling efforts with the persons registering transfers, unless this requirement conflicts with interstate agreements pertaining to water supply issues to which the State is a signatory.