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Water School

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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Does the Brazos River Authority provide speakers for my civic group?

Yes, the BRA’s Speaker’s Bureau will provide staff to address a variety of water related topics free-of-charge to civic groups and community organizations. Groups frequently request such topics as water planning, water and wastewater treatment, flood management and future planning. For more information, go to the Bureau’s web page or call the BRA's Public Information Office at 888-922-6272.
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Why do you charge a fee to build a dock on the reservoir?

The on-water facility fee to place a dock on a BRA reservoir basically allows the permit holder to build and maintain a permanent structure over BRA property (the lake bed). It also gives the BRA the ability to ensure that the docks that are constructed on the reservoir are safe. The permit fee is not a tax, but a one-time fee.  There are no longer annual fees to maintain a dock on a BRA reservoir.  For an on-water facility permit application, click here.
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If I own lakeside property, can I build a dock on a BRA-owned reservoir?

Lakeside property owners can build docks on a BRA-owned reservoir if they complete an On-Water Facility Permit application and pay the relevant fees for inspection of the facility plans and completed work.  Lake regulations set requirements property owners must meet when building a dock.  Details on these regulations may be found in Section 7 of the BRA regulations.Permit applications may be obtained at each reservoir's office or by going to the appropriate website: Possu...
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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.
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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.
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What is a headwater?

The headwater is the upper reaches of a stream or reservoir. It can also include the merging of streams that come together to form a river.The Brazos River’s headwater begins at the confluence of its Salt Fork and Double Mountain Fork near the eastern boundary of Stonewall County. The river stretches a total of 938 miles across the state of Texas.Knowledge surrounding a stream or river’s headwater can provide important information about the sources or causes of pollution and nutrient...
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What is a spring?

A spring is a place where groundwater flows naturally from the Earth’s surface. There are two types: gravity springs and non-gravity springs. Gravity springs can be depression spring, surface springs, or artesian springs.  Depression springs: form when a water table intersects with the ground surface, and the water overflows. A water table is an underground boundary of soil saturation. These types of springs vary depending on the raising and lowering of the water table. ...
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What is the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River?

Forming the Brazos’ main stem when it joins with the Salt Fork in Stonewall County, this stretch of river begins near the Llano Estacado in Lynn County. The Double Mountain Fork gets its name from a geological feature nearby in Stonewall County.The river here is typically shallow and meandering. The land it passes through is mainly farm and ranchland and has little development. The fork extends about 213 river miles from its headwaters to where it joins the main stem. This fork also passes...
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What is the Salt Fork of the Brazos River?

The Salt Fork of the Brazos River is one of three forks that meet to make up the main stem of the Brazos. The main stem begins when the Salt Fork joins the Double Mountain Fork near Aspermont in Stonewall County. The Salt Fork travels about 186 river miles from its beginning in Crosby County in West Texas, passing through Garza and Kent counties, to where it reaches the main stem.This segment of the Brazos River, which is usually intermittent and shallow, crosses geological formations exceedingl...
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What is the Clear Fork of the Brazos River?

The Clear Fork is one of the longest tributaries of the Brazos River. It originates as a draw in Scurry County and runs for about 307 river miles through  Fisher, Jones, Shackelford, Haskell, Stephens, and Throckmorton counties before joining the river’s main stem in Young County north of Possum Kingdom Lake.For a full-sized map, click here.
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Where can I put in my canoe on the river?

Although the Authority does not own or maintain canoe/kayak launch points on the Brazos, there are many put-in and take-out locations available along the Brazos River.The most popular paddling locations are the stretches of river below Possum Kingdom Lake and Lake Granbury. You can find points below the dam at Possum Kingdom Lake by clicking here. For the area below Lake Granbury you can find a map of distances and access points here.Information including access points and hazards along sections...
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Can I camp on a sandbar in the river?

The streambed of the Brazos River, and all tributaries in Texas, is state-owned and operated, meaning camping, picnicking and fishing are all legal here, including sandbars. Photo by Juan RamirezSandbars are described as offshore bars that can be partly or completely submerged in the river, according to Realonomics. They are formed by bits of sand, silt and sedimentary rock that are deposited by rip currents in the river, then piled onto the bar due to the backwash of the water. During drou...
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Can I camp at Brazos River Authority reservoirs?

Yes, BRA parks have campsites that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Camping is free year-round at Lakes Granbury and Limestone, as well as September through May at Possum Kingdom Lake.Each BRA park offers amenities ranging from tables to shelters and grills and pits. Many of the parks also offer nearby restrooms and showers. If you prefer something a little less rustic, private groups offer cabin and RV sites. For more information about camping opportunities at BRA reservoirs, ...
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Do I need a boating permit on the lake? On the river?

Motorized boats, sailboats extending 14 feet or longer, and vessels documented by the U.S. Coast Guard all must show proof of state registration when operating on Texas public waters, which includes the Brazos River, according to Texas law. This law does not apply to non-motorized rubber rafts, kayaks, punts, rowboats, or other vessels under 14 feet in length that have the ability to be paddled, oared, windblown, or poled. To learn more about water vessel requirements of public Texas waters, cli...
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Do I need a fishing license to fish on the river? On a lake?

In the state of Texas, it is a requirement that anyone fishing on public lands or in public waters have a fishing license. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule, including: No license is required for those younger than 17 or Texas residents born before Sept. 1, 1930. Residents born after this date that are 65 or older, can buy a Senior Resident Fishing License. People are also not required to have a license when fishing at a state park, such as the one at Lake Whitney or Possum Kingd...
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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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What is the USGS?

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is a federal scientific agency that works in biology, geography, geology and hydrology. USGS is the nation’s primary civilian mapping agency. The agency also monitors streams and other bodies of water across the country for flow and depth. Among its other activities, USGS also monitors earthquakes and volcanic activity.The USGS web site may be found by clicking here.
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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.
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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.
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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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What is E. coli?

E. Coli is a bacteria normally found in the intestines of humans and other warm blooded animals. It can pollute water bodies and other areas through contact with waste. Researchers have found contact with the bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illnesses.
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What is giardiasis (giardia)?

Giardiasis is an infection of the small intestine by single-celled parasites called giardia. People are typically infected by the parasite through exposure to fecal mater through contaminated water or food. Symptoms, which usually begin about a week after infection, include diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps.Though there are no preventative vaccines, several drugs can be used to treat infections. However, there are ways to avoid becoming infected. First, people should avoid consuming water th...
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Can I put grease down my kitchen sink?

It is not recommended to pour any kind of cooking grease down the sink. Grease that is poured down the drain cools, then tends to solidify and stick to the walls of the pipe. This allows for more debris and food scraps to get lodged. Unfortunately, sometimes a plumber is required to unclog drains and pipes when this occurs which can be a pricy endeavor.Instead, place the grease in any kind of glass jar, store it under the sink, and then throw it away when full to protect and preserve kitchen dra...
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What is pH?

A measure of water’s alkalinity or acidity is called pH. Water with a pH of 7 is neutral; lower pH levels indicate increasing acidity and higher pH levels indicate increasingly basic solutions.
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What is a river basin?

A river basin is the area drained by a river and its tributaries. A river basin is synonymous with the term “watershed.”  For example, the Brazos River basin refers to the same area as the Brazos River watershed.  photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife
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What is a riparian area?

The term riparian area refers to the bank of a river. Riparian areas have one or both of the following characteristics: 1) distinctively different vegetative species than adjacent areas, and 2) species similar to adjacent areas but exhibiting more vigorous or robust growth forms. Riparian areas are usually transitional between wetland and upland.
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What regulations cover fishing at Brazos River Authority reservoirs?

Under Texas state law, a fishing license is required for all public waters. There are a few exceptions to this requirement. Those younger than 17 years of age, whether Texas residents or non-residents, are exempt. Also, Texas residents born before Jan. 1, 1931 are exempt from license requirements.  Texas residents over the age of 65 may buy a Senior Resident Fishing License.  For more information about fishing regulations in Texas, go to the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife website.
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Are you allowed to hunt on the Brazos River and its tributaries?

Since the river is a public stream, it belongs to all Texans and people are free to enjoy a variety of activities within its banks, including hunting. However, people should be mindful of state laws related hunting in these areas.Hunters should also be careful where they walk in the riverbed to avoid violating Texas trespassing laws by straying onto private property. Under state law, the river bed is public property up to the “gradient boundary.” Though the definition of the boundary...
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Are you allowed to hunt on the Brazos River and its tributaries?

Since the Brazos River is a public stream, the 938-mile stretch of water is available for anyone to hunt.  Many people live along the river banks, and hunters must be mindful of their safety when shooting both firearms and arrows. To avoid violating Texas trespassing laws by straying onto private property, hunters should be careful where they walk on the riverbed. They are advised to not cross the boundary of the riverbed where woody plants begin to grow — this is dubbed the &ldq...
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How can I prevent a PAM infection?

To prevent infection by primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), it is recommended that those taking part in warm, fresh water-related activities use nose clips or hold their noses shut while jumping into water. With the ameba often found in soil, it is best to avoid stirring up underwater sediment.The Texas Department of Health recommends that people avoid stagnant or polluted water and take “No Swimming” signs seriously. PAM cannot be spread person to person nor by drink...
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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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