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.

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