The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has approved a water right permit that will make additional water supply available for use in the Brazos River basin.
The System Operation Permit will allow for more efficient use of water in the basin through coordinated operation of existing reservoirs with other flows downstream. The permit is also one of the first of its kind to be issued by the state that will include environmental flow provisions and requirements resulting from the passage of Senate Bill 3 by the Texas Legislature in 2007.
The Brazos River Authority is extremely pleased with the final approval of the System Operations Permit by the TCEQ,"said Phil Ford, general manager/CEO of the Brazos River Authority. "The permit will appropriate a new, reliable supply of water to help meet a variety of water needs within the Brazos basin, without the costly and time-consuming construction of new reservoirs by allowing the BRA to use naturally occurring flows in the basin and return flows from wastewater treatment plants in conjunction with the water supply in our 11 existing reservoirs.
The application for the System Operation Permit was filed in 2004 as the state's water plan began addressing the increasing growth in Texas'population, yet limited sources of water supply.In the ensuing decade, the BRA issued the last of its available long-term water supply contracts allowable through existing permits. The System Operations Permit will eventually, in coming years, allow the BRA to write new contracts for long-term water supply. The permit is currently included as a recommended strategy in the State Water Plan for Brazos Region G and Region H planning areas to meet the state's growing population needs.
BRA will be conducting a drought study as required by the permit, prior to entering new long-term contracts. The drought study must be completed within nine months after the permit is issued and will evaluate impacts of the recent drought, including how much water can be supplied on a reliable basis under the new permit. BRA has estimated that amount to be approximately 100,000 acre-feet.