Water School

What is appropriation doctrine?

This doctrine has its roots in the 1800s, when Texas officials determined riparian doctrine did not address the needs of more arid parts of the state. Since the late 19th century, land acquired from the state has used prior-appropriation doctrine instead of riparian when considering water rights.

Under this approach, water rights are based on seniority.  In other words, one’s water rights are based on the date one applied for the right, with older claimants having seniority. However, those pre-existing riparian water rights are also recognized by the state.




The information provided on this site is intended as background on water within the Brazos River basin. There should be no expectation that this information is all encompassing, complete or in any way examines every aspect of this very complex natural resource.

If you have questions about a post or would like additional information, please contact us or call 888-922-6272.

sanitation classification evaporation organic water quality spillway USGS mainstem municipal map aquifer industry recreation mission minerals canoe water plants industrial rights clarity stream corps of engineers hydrology water treatment storage runoff mitigation fertilizer agricultural riparian solids PAM hunting gulf river inundated subwatershed water code streamflow jobs salinity governance precipitation speaker allens creek reservoir sludge E coli gate tributary septic water cycle dock water basin chlorides gas infection fish kill use reservoir depth taste boating potable oxygen impound consumption wildlife flood control lake gage direct re-use legislation subsidence main stem cfs turbidity fork pollutants electric companies hydropower anaerobic monitor xeriscape water planning beneficial use water use biosolids flood corps well environmental mgd appropriation flood pool smell subsidence district inland calcium wastewater costs volume quality dissolved solids acre-foot invasive plants fishing lakes streamflow TCEQ medicine soil conservation lake levels farming filter water rights measure insurance wetlands channel emergency use rain watershed environment Board pharmaceuticals septic system effluent aerobic contract bottled water kayak groundwater habitat possum kingdom algae electricity contaminants bed and banks sediment camping drilling limestone authority lake level system meta tag supply E. coli drought climate lake landscaping maps brackish water clarity water supply reservoirs riverine dam bay indirect re-use marsh wetland acre-feet canoeing parasite sewage chlorine lawn agriculture granbury salt hydrilla employment drinking water hydrologic cycle watercourse ground water golden algae permit releases planning surface water spring golden algea estuary treatment