Water School

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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What is a 100-year flood?

A 100-year flood is a flood event that it has a 1 percent chance of happening in any given year. The term “100-year” is a measure of a flood’s size, not how often it occurs. Although statistically unlikely, several 100-year floods can occur within the same year or a few short years. It is also called the base flood.
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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.
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What is Xeriscape?

Xeriscaping [zeer-i-skey-ping] is a form of landscaping that uses native plants and those adapted to survive in areas with periods of low precipitation.  Using this technique can help conserve water or deal with periods of drought. Xeriscaping is becoming a more popular landscaping option because it’s environmentally friendly and saves the homeowner money by reducing watering costs and puts less strain on water resources.Drought-friendly plants also are a great option for households t...
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Why do electric companies need water?

Water is an essential part of the electrical generating process at steam-electric power plants. The plants generate heat, either through the burning of fossil fuels, or in the case of a nuclear plant, through a nuclear reaction. Water is pumped into the area and turned to steam by the heat. That steam builds pressure, which turns the turbines that generate electricity.  After passing through the turbines, the spent steam must be cooled to remove the remaining heat from the process.  Water from t...
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What is a hydroelectric plant?

A hydroelectric plant uses energy provided by the weight of water to rotate turbines that generate electricity.  Considered renewable energy, hydroelectric plants are located at dams and utilize water stored in the reservoir.  Once the stored water is passed through the turbines to generate electricity, it is allowed to continue downstream.
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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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