Ken Paxton

Colonias Prevention

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:

  1. requiring subdividers to provide basic infrastructure (water, sewer, roads, and drainage) when creating (or "platting") new residential developments,
  2. restricting the advertising and selling of lots that are not platted or that lack water and sewer,
  3. limiting connections to utilities in substandard areas, and
  4. mandating certain disclosures and protections when lots are sold through contracts for deeds.


General Guides to Laws


County List

Lists of Counties Subject to Special Colonias-Prevention Laws

Texts of Laws

Requirements in Subchapter B (Border-Area) Counties

Requirements in Subchapter C Counties

Requirements in § 212.0105 Counties


Texts of Older Laws


State Agencies

Texas Secretary of State - the state's colonia initiatives coordinator:

Texas Office of Attorney General Colonia Geographic Database:

Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Office of Colonia Initiatives:

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality:

Texas Water Development Board:

Texas Natural Resources Information System:

Texas Department of Rural Affairs:

Federal Agencies

U.S. Housing and Urban Development farmworkers and colonias page with lots of links:

on this page:

border colonia geography online:

The Office of the Attorney General created and maintains an extensive Colonia Geographic Database for the border region. The database stores accurate geographic and descriptive data on over 1,800 colonia areas in 29 border area counties. Maps and data from this database are now viewable on-line at this site.

regional offices:

attorney general columns: