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Water School

Archive by tag: planningReturn

What is a groundwater district?

Groundwater districts are organizations created by legislation or through the petition process to provide administration over the use of water pumped from a specific area.  These districts have limited power, primarily in the spacing of wells, education, and planning, prohibiting waste, and permitting well drilling.The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has a myriad of information on groundwater supplies in Texas. The Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts (TAGD) is an organiza...
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What is a drought contingency plan?

A drought contingency plan is a strategy or combination of strategies for monitoring the progression of a drought and preparing a response to potential water supply shortages resulting from severe droughts or other water supply emergencies. The Brazos River Authority's drought contingency plan may be viewed here.
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How are groundwater rights determined?

Texas groundwater has long been governed by the “rule of capture” doctrine, generally meaning if you can capture it from beneath your property it is yours, regardless of impacts beyond your property. However, in the late 1940s, the Texas Legislature passed a law that allowed for the creation of groundwater conservation districts. These entities have limited power over groundwater, primarily in the spacing of wells, education and planning, prohibiting waste, and permitting well drilli...
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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...
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What is a watershed protection plan?

A watershed protection plan is a coordinated effort among stakeholders of a watershed to determine and implement a plan to ease an environmental issue. The stakeholders often include residents of the impacted community, representatives of governmental and other agencies and local businesses, among others.The stakeholders work with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to develop a plan and formulate programs to manage the issue.
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Why is conservation important?

Water conservation is especially important in Texas because the state has experienced periods of droughts since the Texas government first began recording droughts in 1870.The most recent intense drought happened between 2010 and 2015. This drought was defined as an exceptional drought characterized by exceptional and widespread crop loss, seafood, forestry, tourism, and agriculture sectors reporting significant financial loss and areas experiencing extreme s...
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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.
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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...
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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...
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What is yield?

Yield refers to the amount of water produced by a water treatment process or the quantity of water that can be collected for a given use from surface or groundwater sources. The yield may vary depending on the proposed use, the development plan, location of the water source, and economic considerations.
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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...
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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...
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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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