What the BRA Does and Does Not Do

What the BRA Does and Does Not Do

Did you know that multiple agencies make multiple decisions, rules and regulations within the Brazos River basin? Though our name includes the word "authority," the BRA is not in charge of everything water-related in the Brazos River Basin. We often receive questions about the Brazos River and many times need to refer them to another agency for the answer. 

Photo of Campbell Sharp, 7, kayaking on Possum Kingdom Lake. Submitted by Matthew Sharp.

Brazos River Authority 

The mission of the Brazos River Authority is to develop, manage, and protect the water resources of the Brazos River basin. The BRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1929 and was the first state agency in the United States created specifically to develop, manage and protect the water resources of an entire Brazos River basin.

The BRA works with three Texas Regional Water Planning groups as part of the state water planning process to find the means to provide for the future of water supply within the state.

Besides water supply, the BRA works to ensure the quality of the water within the basin by providing services such as potable water treatment, wastewater treatment and monitoring for specific contaminates as part of the Texas Clean Rivers Program.

Although the Brazos River Authority is a political subdivision of the State of Texas, it does not levy or collect taxes and does not receive subsidies from the state or the counties it serves. Except for occasional governmental grants to aid in the cost of specific projects, the BRA is funded entirely through the management of water and wastewater services and the sale of water supply.

The BRA is the agency to contact with questions about rules and regulations about Lake Limestone, Lake Granbury and Possum Kingdom Lake and water supply needs within the Brazos River basin: 254-761-3100 or 888-922-6272.

The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is located nationwide. They are the nation's number one federal provider for outdoor recreation, the nation's environmental engineer and they own and operate more than 600 dams. 

The Fort Worth District of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers controls the water releases from lakes Whitney, Aquilla, Proctor, Belton, Stillhouse Hollow, Georgetown, Granger and Somerville. These reservoirs, in addition to providing storage space for Texas' water supply, also fill the federal government's mandate in storing floodwaters.

Photo submitted by Thesandra Smith

During flood operations, water released from Possum Kingdom or Lake Granbury would flow downstream and be stored in Lake Whitney.

During dry times, the BRA might ask the Army Corps of Engineers to make a release from one of its reservoirs for water supply purposes.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)

TCEQ is the environmental agency for the state. They are responsible for regulating waste discharges in the waters of the state and protecting groundwater from pesticide discharges. Their goal is clean air, clean water, and the safe management of waste.

The TCEQ manages the state's surface water assets and determines the amount of water made available through the issuance of water rights permits. 

TCEQ establishes surface water quality standards for rivers, lakes and estuaries. They monitor and assess their status and implement pollution control projects to protect or restore natural waterways. 

TCEQ is the agency to contact for concerns about water quality, and to obtain wastewater permits and rules and regulations for public water systems. 

TCEQ is the agency to contact if you see someone dumping something questionable into the Brazos River or another body of water: 1-888-777-3186

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD)

The mission of TPWD is to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

TPWD not only handles fish kills in all bodies of water, but they also monitor, manage and research non-native plants and animals that threaten Texas waterways. 
The only hunting allowed on BRA property is through the annual waterfowl hunting draw held each August. However, fishing on our three reservoirs is allowed. TPWD issues licenses and boater registrations for all Texans. TPWD hunting regulations can be found here.

The BRA does not regulate hunting, fishing, or the building of ramps and boat docks on the Brazos River. Those issues are the duty of TPWD. 

TPWD is the agency to contact for hunting regulations on  any river in the Brazos River Basin, hunting and fishing licenses and boat registration: 254-867-7951

Brazos Watermaster

The Brazos Watermaster program is a branch of the TCEQ. It oversees the use of surface water within the Brazos River Basin downstream of Possum Kingdom Lake to ensure the allocation of water in accordance with state water right permits.

The BRA and many others across the basin have state-issued water rights that are monitored and fall under the jurisdiction of the Brazos Watermaster. The Brazos River Watermaster's Office collaborates with Brazos River Basin water right holders to ensure that they receive the water they are entitled to under their TCEQ issued permits.

Under the direction of Molly Mohler, the Brazos Watermaster program closely monitors surface water use by all water rights holders within the Brazos River Basin, including the BRA. The Watermaster program is responsible for a large portion of the Brazos River Basin, including 41 counties, beginning at the BRA's Possum Kingdom Lake and ending at the Gulf of Mexico. 

Photo submitted by Victoria Calder

The office's daily duties include ensuring compliance, monitoring streamflow, reservoir levels and water use and coordinating diversions. Those tasks involve allocating the correct amount of water per established water rights, protecting the water rights of permit holders, monitoring USGS gages and responding to complaints about unauthorized water use. 

The Watermaster program also oversees situations where a diversion would take water that rightfully belongs to another user. The watermaster allocates available water among the water rights holders when streamflow decreases according to each user's priority date.

The Brazos Water Master is the agency to contact if you witness someone removing water without a permit to do so or have knowledge of someone diverting water without permission within the Brazos River Basin: 254-761-3006

No matter the agency, the BRA aims to help anyone with questions, concerns, and anything in between. You can always contact us, and we will help get you to the right agency to help.