SEC. 51-11-13. Additional powers of the district.
The term "project" when used herein shall mean the general plans and purposes of the district, including without limitation physical properties and the location of reservoir or reservoirs, dam or dams, and related facilities, as approved by the district. The words "project area" shall mean any geographic area, as defined by a resolution of the board of directors of the district, located within (i) any county which is a member of the district or (ii) any portion of any other county which lies within the watershed area of the Pearl River and its tributaries. The district, through its board of directors, shall have, in addition to and without limitation upon the powers enumerated in Section 51-11-11, the following powers:
(a) To impound and appropriate for beneficial use overflow water and the surface water of the Pearl River or its tributaries within the project area at the place or places and in the manner and amount as may be approved by the Department of Environmental Quality, by the construction of a dam or dams, reservoir or reservoirs, work or works, plants, and any other necessary related facilities contemplated and described as a part of the project; to construct a dam or dams, reservoir or reservoirs, work or works, and any other necessary related facilities contemplated and described as a part of the project to control flooding on the Pearl River and its tributaries; to control, store, and preserve these waters and to use, distribute, and sell them; to construct or otherwise acquire within the project area all works, plants, or other facilities necessary to the project for the purpose of soil conservation or for the purpose of processing water and transporting it to cities and other facilities for domestic, municipal, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and manufacturing purposes; and to control open channels for delivery purposes and water transportation; provided, however, a decision by the board of directors to have a dam or reservoir constructed within a county may be vetoed by an affirmative vote of a majority of each of the boards of supervisors of any three (3) or more member counties of the district.
(b) To acquire and develop any other available water necessary to the project and to construct, acquire, and develop all facilities within the project area deemed necessary with respect thereto, including terminals.
(c) To forest and reforest, and to aid in the foresting and reforesting of, the project area and to prevent and aid in the prevention of soil erosion and flood within this area; to control, store, and preserve within the boundaries of the project area the waters of the Pearl River or any of its tributaries for irrigation of lands and for prevention of water pollution.
(d) To acquire by condemnation all property or interest in property of any kind, real, personal, or mixed, within the Pearl River Basin, whether within or without the project area, strictly and presently necessary for the projects and the exercise of the powers, rights, privileges, and functions conferred upon the district by this chapter, according to the procedure provided by law for the condemnation of lands or other property taken for rights-of-way or other purposes by railroads, telephone or telegraph companies and according to the provisions of Section 29-1-1. No petition to condemn any property or any interest in any property shall be filed unless accompanied by a certificate by the United States Army Corps of Engineers or other federal agency, or by a competent engineer or engineering firm, stating that the property being acquired is necessary for the purposes of an approved project of the district. For the purposes of this chapter, the right of eminent domain of the district within the project area shall be superior and dominant to the right of eminent domain of railroad, telegraph, telephone, gas, power, and other companies or corporations and shall be sufficient to enable the acquisition and relocation of county roads, state highways, or other public property within the project area. The cost of right-of-way purchases, rerouting, and elevating all other county-maintained roads affected by constructions shall be borne by the district, and new construction shall be of equal quality as in roads existing as of January 1, 1984. The county in which this work is done may assist in these costs if the board of supervisors so desires.
The amount and character of interest in land, other property, and easements to be acquired shall be determined by the board of directors on the basis of the proven needs of the particular project or projects involved. The board of directors shall make this determination in compliance with the provisions of Section 29-1-1. However,
(i) In acquiring lands, either by negotiation or condemnation, the district shall not acquire minerals or royalties; sand and gravel shall not be considered as minerals within the meaning of this section; however, where land is condemned for easement purposes only, the sand and gravel contained therein or thereunder shall not be condemned, except to the extent necessary for these easement purposes, but may be acquired in full by negotiation; and
(ii) No person or persons owning the drilling rights or the right to share in production or mining shall be prevented from exploring, developing, or producing oil or gas or sand and gravel with necessary rights-of-way for ingress and egress, pipelines, and other means of transporting these products by reason of the inclusion of the lands or mineral interests or sand and gravel within the project area, whether below or above the waterline, but these activities shall be under reasonable regulations by the board of directors as will adequately protect the project.
(e) To require the necessary relocation of roads, highways, railroad, telephone, and telegraph lines and properties, electric power lines, gas pipelines and mains and facilities in the project area, or to require the anchoring or other protection of any of these, provided due compensation is first paid the owners thereof or agreement is had with the owners regarding the payment of the cost of such relocation. Further, the district is hereby authorized to acquire easements or rights-of-way in or outside of the project area for the relocation of roads, highways, railroad, telephone, and telegraph lines and properties, electric power lines, gas pipelines and mains and facilities, and to convey them to the owners thereof in connection with relocation as a part of the construction of the project.
(f) To overflow and inundate any public lands and public property, including sixteenth section lands and lieu lands, within the project area.
(g) To construct, extend, improve, maintain, and reconstruct, to cause to be constructed, extended, improved, maintained, and reconstructed, and to use and operate all facilities of any kind within the project area necessary to the project.
(h) To employ engineers, attorneys, and all necessary agents and employees to properly finance, construct, operate, and maintain the project and the plants, and to pay reasonable compensation for these services.
(i) To make contracts in the issuance of bonds as may be necessary to insure the marketability thereof.
(j) To enter into contracts with municipalities, corporations, districts, public agencies, political subdivisions of any kind, and others for any services, facilities, or commodities which the project may provide; to contract with any municipality, corporation or public agency for the rental, leasing, purchase, or operation of water production, water filtration or purification, water supply and distributing facilities of such upon consideration as the district and the entity may agree. Any contract may be upon any terms and for any time as the parties may agree, may provide that it shall continue in effect until bonds specified therein, refunding bonds issued in lieu of these bonds, and all obligations are paid. Any contract with any political subdivision shall be binding upon the political subdivisions according to its terms, and the municipalities or other political subdivisions shall have the power to enter into these contracts as in the discretion of the governing authorities thereof would be to the best interest of the people of the municipality or other political subdivision. The contracts may include within the discretion of the governing authorities a pledge of the full faith and credit of the political subdivisions for the performance thereof.
(k) To fix and collect charges and rates for any service, facilities, or commodities furnished by it in connection with the project and to impose penalties for failure to pay these charges and rates when due.
(l) To operate and maintain within the project area, with the consent of the governing body of any located within the district, any works, plants, or facilities deemed necessary to the accomplishment of the purposes for which the district is created.
(m) Subject to the provisions of this chapter, from time to time to lease, sell, or otherwise lawfully dispose of property of any kind, real, personal, or mixed, or any interest therein within the project area or acquired outside the project area as authorized in this chapter, for the purpose of furthering the business of the district.
(n) When, in the opinion of the board of directors as shown by resolution duly passed, it shall not be necessary to the carrying on of the business of the district that the district own any lands acquired, the board shall advertise these lands for sale to the highest and best bidder for cash, and shall receive and publicly open the bids thereon.
(o) In the purchase of or in the entering into of all lease purchase agreements for supplies, equipment, heavy equipment, and the like, the directors shall in all instances comply with the provisions of law pertaining to public purchases by public bids on such supplies and equipment.
(p) In addition to, or in conjunction with, any other powers and duties of the district arising under this chapter, to exercise those powers, duties and functions of a joint water management district set forth in Sections 51-8-27 through 51-8-55, except the power of eminent domain under Section 51-8-33. Before exercising those powers and duties, the district must comply with the provisions of Sections 51-8-63 and 51-8-65. In exercising the functions of a joint water management district, the district may apply to the Environmental Quality Permit Board for delegation of those powers and duties as provided by Section 51-3-15, and to apply to the Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality for delegation of those powers and duties provided by Section 51-3-21.
SOURCES: Codes, 1942, Sec. 5956-258; Laws, 1964, ch. 255, Sec. 8; 1984, ch. 426, Sec. 3, eff from and after July 1, 1984. Laws, 1993, ch. 615, Sec. 8; 1995, ch. 616, Sec. 5, eff from and after July 1, 1995