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Evaluating Basins for Possible Watermaster Programs

The TCEQ assesses the potential role of watermasters in managing water rights in each basin with no existing watermaster program.

For each basin that does not have a watermaster program, the TCEQ:

  • evaluates each river basin or coastal basin
  • assesses whether or not to appoint a watermaster in that basin
  • reports our findings to the Legislature
  • at least once every five years, repeats this assessment

[82nd Texas Legislature (HB 2694), Sunset Commission Report]

What criteria will be considered?

  • Has there been a court order to create a watermaster?
  • Have we received a petition requesting a watermaster?
  • Have senior water rights been threatened in that basin, based on any factors such as:
    • senior calls made,
    • water shortages, or
    • water-right complaints received?


Which Basins are Being Evaluated Now?

In 2017, we are evaluating the Upper Brazos River, San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal, Brazos-Colorado Coastal, Colorado River, and the Colorado-Lavaca Coastal basins. Initial stakeholder letters were mailed on March 3, 2017. 


Stakeholder Meetings

The TCEQ held nine meetings across the state, during which TCEQ provided additional information about the evaluation process and accepted public comments.


Evaluation Schedule

    • February and March 2017 – Review data and send fact sheet and letters requesting input from eater right holders within the basins.
    • March and April 2017 – Incorporate stakeholder comments into evaluation.
    • May and June 2017 – Hold stakeholder meetings and invite additional input.
    • July 31, 2017 – End of Comment Period
    • September 2017-October 2017 – Finalize report.
    • November 2017 – Present findings and recommendationsHot Topic to the TCEQ Commissioners.


Past Evaluations

In 2016, we completed the first five-year evaluation cycle.

2016: Cypress Creek and Sulphur River Basins


2015: Canadian and Red River Basins


2014: Sabine River, Neches River, and Neches-Trinity Coastal Basins


2013: Trinity River, the Trinity-San Jacinto Coastal, the San Jacinto River, and the San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal Basins


2012: Brazos River, Brazos-Colorado Coastal, Colorado River, and the Colorado-Lavaca Coastal Basins


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Contact us!

If you have any questions on this process or would like to submit comments on the current evaluations, please contact our watermaster program liaisons.

By Phone

      • Brooke McGregor at 512-239-2025
      • Stephen Kinal at 512-239-4010

By Letter

Watermaster Section Manager
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
PO Box 13087
Austin TX 78711-3087

By E-mail

watermaster@tceq.texas.gov - Include comments in the body of the e-mail or in an attachment.