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Emergency Preparedness Plan Homepage

An Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP) is a packet of information that an affected utility submits to TCEQ for review and approval. The plan applies to affected utilities and proposes to TCEQ how the affected utility will maintain a minimum water pressure throughout the distribution system for more than 24 hours in the event of a power outage. The plan should be reflective of how the system will respond during an emergency and contains emergency contact information.

What is the Enabling Legislation?

Emergency Preparedness Plans were established for Harris and Fort Bend Counties through Senate Bill 361 (SB 361) of the 81st Legislative Session and House Bill 805 (HB 805) of the 82nd Legislative Session, which created Texas Water Code 13.1395(a) . It defines an “affected utility” to mean a water system serving more than one customer in (A) a county with a population of 3.3 million or more; or (B) a county with a population of 800,000 or more adjacent to a county with a population of 3.3 million or more. 

The 87th Legislative Senate Bill 3 (SB 3) created Texas Water Code 13.1394(a)   and expanded the definition of “affected utilities” to water systems serving customers outside of Harris and Fort Bend Counties.

What is an Affected Utility?

An affected utility is defined as a retail public utility, exempt utility, or provider or conveyor of potable or raw water service that furnishes water service to more than one customer. 

What Water Systems are an Affected Utility? 

All water systems that have residential customers or provide overnight accommodations to customers are affected. Therefore, water systems that provide water to customers that are either full-time or temporary residents of their water system will be required to submit an EPP for approval and implementation. 

Examples include: 

  • Public Water Systems with residential customers 
  • Hospitals 
  • Assisted living homes 
  • Nursing homes 
  • Prisons and Detainment Centers (overnight) 
  • Hotels, motels, resorts, universities or boarding schools with dorms, marinas with occupied houseboats, and 24-hour daycares 
  • Recovery Centers
  • RV-Parks and recreation areas with overnight camping access 

What Water Systems Are Not an Affected Utility? 

If your water system is a non-community system without overnight accommodations, you will not be affected by this requirement. 

Examples include: 

  • Schools (without dormitories) 
  • Daycare Centers 
  • Restaurants 
  • Industrial plants/complexes 
  • Office Buildings 
  • Banks 
  • Churches (without overnight accommodations) 

Why is an Emergency Preparedness Plan Required? 

Texas Water Code 13.1394  and 13.1395 , requires water systems meeting the definition of an affected utility to provide water service with a minimum pressure during an extended power outage lasting 24 hours. The minimum pressure required for affected utilities located in Harris and Fort Bend Counties is 35 pounds per square inch (psi) and those located outside of Harris and Fort Bend Counties must provide a minimum water pressure of 20 psi. To do this systems meeting the definition must develop and implement an EPP.  

For affected utilities in Harris and Fort Bend Counties:  

New systems in Fort Bend County and Harris County that will begin serving water after November 1, 2011, must have an approved EPP before serving water to customers. 

For affected utilities in ALL other Counties: 

All new systems identified under Senate Bill 3   that will begin serving water after July 1, 2022, must have an approved EPP before serving water to customers. 

EPP Template- Harris and Fort Bend Counties Only 

The form TCEQ-20536a  Harris and Fort Bend EPP Template can be saved to your computer to either create or update your currently approved EPP options.  

The template contains options for your water system to use to comply with the EPP requirement. However, your options may be limited by the type of water system you operate. 

Water systems that supply surface water to one or more wholesale customers, have two options: 

  • Install and maintain automatically starting auxiliary generators. 
  • Install and maintain distributive generating facilities. 

All other water systems in Harris and Fort Bend Counties can choose from 8 options. The plan must demonstrate that the affected utility can operate and or restore operating pressures of 35 psi under Texas Water Code (TWC) Section 13.1395 as soon as it is safe and practicable during a water outage lasting more than 24 hours.  

Submit your completed or updated EPP to TCEQ by email for review and approval to

EPP Template- All Other Counties

The form TCEQ-20536b Statewide EPP Template (For all Counties except Fort Bend and Harris Counties) can be saved to your computer to either create or update your currently approved EPP options. This template was updated for clarity on June 16, 2022. If you are working off the initial version of the template, you are NOT required to use the updated template.

To be approved, an EPP must demonstrate that the affected utility can operate and or restore operating pressures of 20 psi under TWC Section 13.1394 as soon as it is safe and practicable during a water outage lasting more than 24 hours. You must submit the EPP to TCEQ for review and approval. If the EPP cannot be approved, TCEQ will send you a letter indicating what items need clarification and or correction so the EPP can be approved. 

Fill in each item in the template. If an item does not apply to your utility, write N/A in that space. 

Submit your completed or updated EPP to TCEQ by email for review and approval to 

Can the Requirements to Submit an EPP be Waived? 

Yes. An affected utility may apply for a financial waiver to the EPP requirement if the affected utility can show that implementing an EPP will cause a significant financial burden to its customers. To obtain a waiver, an affected utility must submit financial documentation showing the actual cost of running the water system, the anticipated cost of implementing an EPP, and how the combined costs would be a significant burden to its customers. TCEQ recommends affected utilities use guidance document  RG-553   when requesting a waiver to the requirement for an emergency preparedness plan. The waiver will be approved if it is determined that implementing an EPP causes a significant financial burden on customers of the affected utility. 

Submitting a waiver request will not automatically extend the deadline to submit your EPP. 

To request a waiver, email a letter with all the required documentation to: 

My EPP is Approved, Now What do I do?  

Now that you have an approved EPP and the approval letter, it is time to implement your plan. Your water system must maintain a copy of the EPP approval letter and the approved EPP. Both documents must be made available to TCEQ staff during inspections as required. 

What Other Agencies Require a Copy of Your Approved EPP? 

An affected utility with an approved EPP is required to provide a copy to their local county judge or their local county office of emergency management, the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) see TWC 13.1396 Coordination of Emergency Operations  . Furthermore, an affected utility is also required to inform their electrical service provider(s), the PUC, and TDEM with information to determine if the affected utility meets the requirements of critical load status. 

PUC of Texas Filing Information: 

Included below are two weblinks; one for the Confidential filing procedures for the PUC, use Docket No. 52272, and the second for PUC Procedural Rules for Filing of Pleadings, Documents, and Other Materials. 


Public Utility Commission of Texas 
Central Records 
1701 N Congress PO Box 13326 
Austin, Texas 78711-3326 

For additional questions contact the PUC Central Records office at 512-936-7180. 

TDEM Filing Information: 

EPP can be submitted to TDEM via email at: 


Texas Division of Emergency Management 
Attn: State Operations Center 
1033 La Posada, Ste 300 
Austin, Texas 78752 

When Do I Change or Update The EPP? 

An affected utility needs to submit a new EPP to the TCEQ when: 

  • An affected utility installs new equipment (e.g. larger generator, new water plant, larger water plant equipment) needs a new EPP to ensure that the option chosen is still applicable. 
  • If an affected utility removes all water plant equipment and is provided water by another water system a new EPP is required if the providing water system does not agree to provide water or pressure during an outage lasting more than 24 hours. 
  • An affected utility that agrees to provide water during an outage lasting 24 hours or more to another water system’s connections needs a new EPP to verify that the existing option can supply all customers with water and pressure during a water outage. 
  • An affected utility wants to choose a different option from the original EPP approved option. 
  • A non-affected utility changes its status to an affected utility (e.g. a convenience store owner begins providing water to a mobile home park). 

A new EPP is not required for changes to utility contact information or personnel changes; for those types of changes, please submit only the applicable pages of the EPP template. Please include the updates in your copy of the EPP and submit the updated information to the other organizations listed on the page called Attachment A – Approved Plan Distribution. 

Have Additional Questions? 

If you need additional assistance email 

Is There Assistance Available? 

Yes. If you need assistance preparing the EPP, help is available to you please contact or see the FMT webpage for more information. 

TCEQ can also provide access to Financial, Managerial, and Technical (FMT) Assistance contractors to help you understand these requirements. The FMT program sends trained individuals to your location and helps water and wastewater systems comply with TCEQ regulations. Through a contract with skilled professionals, we offer free financial, managerial, and technical assistance to help public water and wastewater systems comply with regulations.