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Evaluating Basins for Possible Watermaster Programs

The Sunset Commission report to the 82nd Texas Legislature (HB 2694) addressed concerns regarding water rights in Texas. In particular, the Sunset Commission considered the potential role of watermasters in managing water rights in each basin.

 

New InformationInformation on the Brazos Watermaster is now available.

Updated InformationThe findings of the 2014 Evaluations for the Sabine River Basin, Neches River Basin, and Neches-Trinity Coastal Basin were presented at a Commission Agenda on August 20, 2014.

Under this legislation, we must:

  • Evaluate each river basin or coastal basin that does not have a watermaster.
  • Assess whether or not there is a need to appoint a watermaster in that basin.
  • Report our findings to the Legislature.
  • At least once every five years, repeat this assessment for basins without a watermaster.

Which basins are being evaluated now?

We evaluated the following basins for 2014:

  • Sabine River Basin
  • Neches River Basin
  • Neches-Trinity Coastal Basin

Can I participate?

Yes, we want your input. As new basins are evaluated,we will seek input to help in the evaluations. If you have any questions about the evaluation process or additional comments to share, please contact our watermaster program liaisons.

Stakeholder Meetings

In 2014 three stakeholder meetings were held to discuss the evaluation of the need for a watermaster in the Sabine and Neches River basins and the Neches-Trinity coastal basin.  These meetings were held on June 3 in Tyler, June 4 in Lufkin, and June 5 in Beaumont. Presentations were made by staff from TCEQ's Office of Water and the Office of Compliance and Enforcement, and the following slide shows are being made available from those stakeholder meetings:

During this evaluation process and at the stakeholder meetings we requested and received input from stakeholders.

If you have any questions about this process or additional comments to share, please contact our watermaster program liaisons.

How can I offer input?

Written input for the 2014 evaluations was requested by June 13, 2014 and all comments we received were included in our evaluation of these basins. If you have additional comments or would still like to provide input, please contact us.

By letter: If you want to comment by letter, address it to:

Amy Settemeyer, Manager
Watermaster Section (MC-160)
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
PO Box 13087
Austin TX 78711-3087

By e-mail: Send your e-mail to watermaster@tceq.texas.gov. You may put your comment in the body of the e-mail or include it as an attachment.

How will you use my input?

We review all comments received as we prepare the evaluation documents that will be presented to the Commissioners and eventually reported to the Legislature.

If you provide comments on basins that will be evaluated in future years, we will collect your comments and include them as we begin those evaluations.

What criteria will be considered?

As we evaluate each basin, we will consider these questions:

  • 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?

What is the timeline for the evaluation?

We will generally follow the schedule below in our basin review:

  • February and March – Review data and documents, and send letters requesting input.
  • March and April - Incorporate stakeholder comments into evaluation.
  • May through July – Hold stakeholder meetings and invite additional input.
  • August through September – present findings and recommendations to the TCEQ Commissioners.
  • January – Submit report to the Legislature.

How can I stay informed?

Sign up for e-mail updates through GovDelivery. It's easy and fast!

When will other basins be considered?

The first five-year evaluation cycle began in 2012. That year we evaluated the Brazos River Basin, the Brazos-Colorado Coastal Basin, the Colorado River Basin, and the Colorado-Lavaca Coastal Basin. The Executive Director's findings and recommendations for these basins were presented at the Commissioners’ Agenda on October 31, 2012. We provided backup materials for the Commission Agenda.

In January 2013 TCEQ received a petition to appoint a watermaster in the Brazos River Basin. The commission referred the issue to the State Office of Administrative Hearings, which delivered a Proposal for Decision and Order on December 17, 2013. On April 9, 2014, at Commissioners' Agenda, the Commissioners directed that a new watermaster be appointed for the Brazos River Basin including Possum Kingdom Lake and below that Lake in the Brazos River Basin.

In 2013 we evaluated the Trinity River Basin, the Trinity-San Jacinto Coastal Basin, the San Jacinto River Basin, and the San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal Basin. The Executive Director's findings and recommendations for these basins were presented at the Commissioners’ Agenda on September 4, 2013. We provided backup materials for the Commission Agenda.

The remaining basins will be evaluated according to the following schedule:

2015:

  • Canadian River Basin
  • Red River Basin

2016:

  • Sulphur River Basin
  • Cypress Creek Basin

More questions? Contact us!

If you have any questions on this process or would like to submit comments on the current evaluations, please e-mail or call our watermaster program liaisons:

  • Michael Redda at 512-239-4631
  • Cindy Hooper at 210-403-4080

By Letter

Amy Settemeyer, Manager
Watermaster Section (MC-160)
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
PO Box 13087
Austin TX 78711-3087

By E-mail

watermaster@tceq.texas.gov - You may put comments in the body of the e-mail or include them in an attachment.