Colonias are substandard housing developments, often found along the Texas-Mexico border, where residents lack basic services such as drinking water, sewage treatment, and paved roads. The State of Texas has undertaken a number of programs to remedy the conditions in existing colonias and to prevent new colonias.
The Office of the Attorney General has enforcement responsibilities under several of these laws. To assist the public and governmental agencies in understanding and following these laws, the Office of the Attorney General has compiled them into a booklet and developed assorted materials to explain them.
Texas laws intended to prevent colonias take a variety of forms and apply in a variety of circumstances. The Texas Legislature has refined these laws during the past 15 years. Some of the major laws apply only in the border area or in "economically distressed" counties with high unemployment and low per capita income.
The laws have four major thrusts:
Texas Secretary of State - the state's colonia initiatives coordinator: www.sos.state.tx.us/border/colonias/index.shtml
Texas Office of Attorney General Colonia Geographic Database: http://maps.oag.state.tx.us/colgeog/
Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Office of Colonia Initiatives: www.tdhca.state.tx.us
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality: www.tceq.state.tx.us
Texas Water Development Board: www.twdb.state.tx.us
Texas Natural Resources Information System: www.tnris.org
Texas Department of Rural Affairs: www.tdra.state.tx.us
U.S. Housing and Urban Development farmworkers and colonias page with lots of links: www.hud.gov/groups/farmwkercolonia.cfm