X
GO

Water School

Archive by category: Water Planning/SupplyReturn

What is a water right?

Water rights or a water permit is granted by the state in set increments to ensure that water is available for all in need.There are several types of water rights in Texas: perpetual rights including permits and certificates of adjudication and limited rights including temporary and term permits.
Read More

What is interruptible water?

Interruptible water is water available for contract sale for a specific period, normally a year-to-year basis.  This water is available based on the amount of water in reservoir storage.  Interruptible water is subject to restricted use during water shortages.
Read More

Can the Brazos River Authority sell water to anyone?

The Brazos River  Authority is permitted to sell water to any organization within the basin for the purposes listed in the organizations water permit from the state.  These purposes are: municipal, industrial, agricultural, and mining.  Outside the Brazos River basin, legislation must be passed to allow an interbasin transfer of water to another river basin.
Read More

How much water is the Brazos River Authority permitted to sell in Texas?

The Brazos River Authority has obtained the right to provide up to 705,000 acre-feet of water basin-wide from the 11 system reservoirs and the rivers within the watershed. This right was obtained through a standard water permitting process set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and its predecessor agencies and through contractual negotiations.  The Authority has contracted for sale 700,000 acre-feet of water.
Read More

What is an interbasin transfer?

An interbasin transfer is the sale of water from one river basin to another. This type of transaction requires the state to pass legislation before it can take place. The Authority has Interbasin Transfer Agreements with the Lower Colorado and Trinity River Authorities.
Read More

What if I want to build a lake?

No one can impound the waters of the State of Texas without permission from the state, as expressed through the issuance of a water right or water permit.  A property owner, even if they own both sides of a stream, may not be able to build a dam on that stream without first seeking the permission of the state.  If you are planning on building a lake, it is best that you check with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and let them know your plans.
Read More

What is riparian doctrine?

In Texas, surface-water rights are governed by duel doctrine that take widely differing approaches: riparian and appropriation. Riparian doctrine was introduced to Texas more than 200 years ago during the Spanish colonial period and has since incorporated elements of English common law.Under this doctrine, property owners have a right to draw water from a stream or water body that crosses or borders their land. They are allowed to take water for a reasonable use and are protected against unreaso...
Read More

Why are there federal reservoirs in the Brazos River basin?

The US Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) operates eight flood control reservoirs within the Brazos River basin that, through a contract with the federal government, also serve as water supply impoundments for the Brazos River Authority system of reservoirs.Lakes Proctor, Whitney, Aquilla, Belton, Stillhouse Hollow, Georgetown, Granger, and Somerville store water for use by municipal, agricultural, industrial, and mining use.Similar to the Authority’s three water supply reservoirs, water cont...
Read More

What is Allens Creek Reservoir?

Allens Creek Reservoir is a planned water storage lake permitted for construction on Allens Creek, a tributary of the Brazos River, in Austin County. The permit to build the lake was originally issued to Houston Lighting and Power (Reliant Energy) in 1974 by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, now known as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).The reservoir was originally to have served as a cooling lake for a nuclear power plant. When Reliant Energy abandoned plan...
Read More

What is unappropriated water?

Unappropriated water is the state water remaining in a watercourse that is available for appropriation (ie permitting) under the rules of TCEQ.  Or in other words, it is the amount of water that could be available for use from a water source after all existing water rights have been fully taken into account.
Read More

What is an adjudicated water permit?

Over the past 200 years of Texas history, the state has experienced several different laws governing the use of surface water. These differing laws often created conflict in water rights claims. In 1967, the Texas Legislature directed the predecessor agency of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to clarify this system and classify Texas water rights by Certificates of Adjudication. These certificates were each assigned a priority date based on when the water use first occurred.
Read More

What is a term permit?

A term permit is a water permit issued by the State of Texas usually to industry, mining or agricultural enterprise for a specific amount of water that will be available for specific amount of time (usually 10 years).  This permit does not have a priority date nor is it considered to be a property right and is subject to non-renewal or cancellation at the end of the term.
Read More

What is a perpetual water right?

A perpetual water right (also called a Certificate of Adjudication) is a permit issued by the State of Texas that does not have an expiration date.  It specifies a volume of water that may be used on an annual basis.  This water may be used for consumptive purposes or may be stored and consumptively used on an annual basis.The permit specifies a priority date for use but does not guarantee that water will always be available.  Perpetual rights are considered property interests and may be bought,...
Read More

What is "domestic and livestock" use?

Domestic and Livestock use is available only to those whose property adjoins a stream or river.  This use is for water utilized by livestock, household needs and to irrigate a yard or home garden.  This same exemption to Texas water rights allows property owners to impound or store water in stock tanks on larger than 200 acre-feet of storage volume.
Read More

Must I obtain permission to use Texas surface water?

Yes, permission is required in order to ensure that there is enough water for all in need.  The state has established procedures and requirements for obtaining access to state surface water.  Water use may be sought through application for a state permit through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) or through the contract purchase of water from an already permitted entity.The Brazos River Authority holds numerous state issued permits for water use and provides this water to other...
Read More

What is Texas Water Planning?

Water planning in Texas is the process where officials take a long-term look at Texas’ water needs and how to meet them. The current method of water planning stems from the passage of Senate Bill 1 by the 75th Texas Legislature in 1997. This bill set its goals providing for the development, management, and conservation of water resources and preparation for responding to drought conditions.The planning process takes place to ensure that sufficient water will be available at a reasonable co...
Read More

What is desalination?

Desalination is the process of removing dissolved minerals (including total dissolved solids, chlorides, and others) from water to produce potable water for human consumption or fresh water for industrial use. The two most popular methods are thermal and membrane technologies.In the thermal process, salty water is heated to make vapor, which is condensed and collected as fresh water leaving the minerals behind. Membrane processes use high pressure to filter water through permeable membranes...
Read More

Why must I buy water? If water belongs to the state, why is it not provided free of charge?

Water rights are issued by the State of Texas with a small annual fee necessary to pay the costs of the permitting program at the issuing agency.  In many cases the State of Texas has created special districts, such as the Brazos River Authority, to develop and manage surface water supplies.The cost of building and maintaining dams and reservoirs, and all the other costs for managing water supplies, is not paid by the state and is not supported by any tax revenue.  The revenue to pay those costs...
Read More

What is a water supply permit?

In Texas, a water supply permit is an authorization from the state to use surface waters for a beneficial use.  Water supply permits are granted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  In some counties, groundwater districts are authorized to issue water supply permits for the use of groundwater.
Read More

What is an off-channel reservoir?

An off-channel reservoir is a water supply lake built next to or near a river.  Off-channel reservoirs are considered by some to be environmentally friendly, lessening the impact on fish and other wildlife by avoiding the need to place a large dam directly on the main stem of the river.An example of an off-channel reservoir is the Brazos River Authority’s planned and permitted Allens Creek Reservoir, near Houston. For more information about Allens Creek, click here.
Read More

What is a water supply lake?

As the name implies, water supply lakes are built primarily to provide a place to store water for Texas residents, communities, businesses, agriculture, industry and others who all depend on water to survive and thrive. Such lakes are especially vital during periods of drought, when other sources of water may be limited.  Many of Texas’ flood control lakes serve a secondary purpose as a water storage facility.  However, reservoirs designed for water supply, do not necessarily also provide flood...
Read More

What is “beneficial use?”

Beneficial use represents the amount of water necessary when reasonable intelligence and diligence are used for a stated purpose authorized by a water rights permit. Such uses include watering crops, municipal, mining, and industrial use.Beneficial use results in a gain or benefit to the user and society, which is consistent with state law. Most states recognize the following uses as beneficial: domestic and municipal, industrial, irrigation, mining, hydroelectric power, navigation, stock r...
Read More

I’ve heard that reservoirs have a “lifetime.” What does that mean?

Texas streams and rivers are in constant motion and the waters they pour into our reservoirs carry with them a continuous but varying amount of sediment.When the water is slowed or stopped as it runs into a reservoir or by a dam, the sediment drops to the bottom. This sediment builds up year after year and at some point, fills the reservoir to a point it can no longer continue to serve its purpose in flood control or water supply. Without expensive dredging, this would be the end of the res...
Read More

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-e...
Read More

Who has water rights in Texas?

Water rights in Texas are complicated.  They date back to Spanish colonial law, but also include influences from English common law, a history of state legislation as well as judicial decisions. Water rights in Texas are further complicated because ground and surface water rights are approached differently. Generally, water rights law determine who can use water, how much may be used and for what purpose.
Read More

What is water rights adjudication?

Different laws for surface water use have led to conflicting claims over time. In 1967, the Texas Legislature directed a predecessor of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to settle claims. The agency looked at all claims and issued certificates of adjudication for those they approved. Each was assigned a priority date that determined the claimant’s seniority for water rights.
Read More

What are senior and junior water rights?

Senior rights have an earlier priority date and claimants who hold them have a higher priority to divert water from a stream or water body than those with more junior rights. However, in times of scarcity, when there is not enough water to meet demand in a basin, those who need water for domestic and livestock use have first right to water, regardless of one’s priority date.After domestic and livestock needs are met, those with senior water rights can insist diversions by those with junior wate...
Read More

What is a priority date?

The Texas Water Code provides for water permitting in a “first in time; first in right” basis.  This practice establishes a place in line for water users with the earliest permits being guaranteed priority to take water over those with more “junior” permits.  This date is important as it determines who priority to divert and use water first.
Read More

What is a drought of record?

A drought of record is the worst recorded drought since compilation of meteorologic and hydrologic data began.  In terms of severity and duration, the devastating drought of the 1950s is considered the drought of record for many areas in the Brazos River basin. This drought lasted a decade in many places and covered much of the nation, including all of Texas.  In 2008-2009, some parts of the state recorded a new drought of record.
Read More
Search
Categories

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.

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