CHAPTER 340

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 435

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND SUBCHAPTER II, CHAPTER 31, TITLE 20, OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE EMERGENCY POWERS OF THE GOVERNOR DURING A DROUGHT WARNING, A SEVERE CONTINUING DROUGHT, OR OTHER TYPES OF TEMPORARY CONDITIONS OF FAILURE OR INADEQUACY OF THE SUPPLY OF WATER.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each House thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend Subchapter II, Chapter 31, Title 20, Delaware Code, by adding a new section, §3132, which shall read as follows:

"§3132. Declaration of a Drought Warning by the Governor.

(a) The Governor may declare a drought warning prior to declaring a state of emergency due to a drought pursuant to the provisions of 20 Del. C. §3133. The purpose of a drought warning is to avoid or mitigate the adverse impacta a drought that may cause a state of emergency to be declared. Upon the declaration of a drought warning by the Governor, the Governor may issue orders, rules and regulations, which may provide for:

(1) Voluntary requests for water conservation by public or private users of water in the State.

(2) Other measures, including mandatory ones, which may be necessary to conserve water, in accordance with the severity of the conditions causing the declaration of the drought warning.

(b) Any order, rule, regulation and measure issued or provided for by the Governor pursuant to the authority granted in subsection (a) of this section shall be enforceable according to the provisions of 20 Del. C. §§3113, 3128.

(c) For purposes of this section 'drought warning' shall mean a condition whereby hydrologic information indicates the approach of a drought in the State, or in parts thereof, that may cause the declaration of a state of emergency pursuant to the provisions of 20 Del. C, §§3125, 3133.

(d) Before any mandatory measure shall be enforceable, or be made part of any order, rule or regulation that is issued by the Governor pursuant to this section, the Governor shall hold a public hearing on the issue of said mandatory measure. Notice of the hearing shall be published at least 20 days before the hearing in no less than two Delaware newspapers of general circulation. A hearing officer, who shall be appointed by the Governor, than preside over the hearing, and shall make a written report and recommendation about the evidence presented at the hearing to the Governor.

(e) If any subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this section is determined to be invalid, the remainder of this section shall not be affected."

Section 2. Amend Subchapter II, Chapter 31, Title 20, Delaware Code, by adding a new section, §3133, which shall read as follows:

"§3133. Declaration of a State of Emergency Due to a Drought; Emergency Powers of the Governor.

(a) 'State of Emergency' means an emergency proclaimed as such by the Governor pursuant to 20 Del. C. §3125.

(b) As used in 20 Del. C, §3125, 'disaster' or 'emergency' shall include a severe continuing drought resulting from stress Of weather or a temporary condition of failure or inadequacy of the supply of water resulting from any convulsion of nature, malice, acts of war or civil commotion, or other generally unforeseeable events natural or unnatural.

(c) It is hereby found, determined and declared by the General Assembly that an emergency may exist whenever a severe continuing drought or any condition referred to in subsection (b) of this section results in a lack of water resources, thereby threatening the availability of essential services and jeopardizing the peace, health, safety and welfare of the people of the State. The General Assembly further finds that boundaries of municipalities and other political subdivisions within the State do not conform to the geographic boundaries of the sources of water in the State. In addition, the General Assembly finds that problems caused by a severe continuing drought or any condition referred to in subsection (b) of this section may exceed local ability to curtail or resolve such problems. The General Assembly finds that whenever such a drought emergency exists, it shall be necessary to provide information regarding water resources, and to provide an orderly procedure to assure equitable curtailment, adjustment, allocation, or regulation in the public or private use of water resources located in the State. Therefore the General Assembly declares that curtailment of water usage by public or private water users during the existence of an emergency caused by a severe continuing drought or any other condition referred to M subsection (b) of this section may require the exercise of executive authority by the Governor of the State.

(d) After the Governor has determined that a disaster or emergency such as described in subsection (b) of this section exists, the Governor may proclaim a state of emergency pursuant to 20 Del. C. §3125, and in connection therewith issue orders, rules and regulations, which may provide for:

(1) Enactment of plans for water allocation during a drought by public or private waters users.

(2) Bans on water use by public or private water users for specified purposes.

(3) Water rationing program by public or private water users.

(4) Reduction in the withdrawal of water by public or private users.

(5) Other voluntary or mandatory measures, which may be necessary to conserve water, in accordance with the severity of the conditions causing the declaration of a state of emergency because of a drought.

(e) Any order, rule, regulation and measure issued or provided for by the Governor pursuant to the authority granted in subsection (d) of this section shall be enforceable according to the provisions of 20 Del. C. §§3113, 3128.

(f) In determining the existence of a severe continuing drought, or a condition of failure or inadequacy of the supply of water, the Governor shall consider the water resources and requirements of states having contiguous borders with the State.

(g) Before any mandatory measure shall be enforceable, or be made part of any order, rule or regulation that is issued by the Governor pursuant to this section, the Governor shall hold a public hearing on the issue of said mandatory measure. Notice of the hearing shall be published at least 7 days before the hearing in no less than 2 Delaware newspapers of general circulation. A hearing officer, who shall be appointed by the Governor, shall preside over the hearing, and shall make a written report and recommendation about the evidence presented at the hearing to the Governor.

(h) If any subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this section is determined to be invalid, the remainder of this section shall not be affected."

Approved July 8, 1982.