The TCEQ takes additional action to satisfy senior water-right call while continuing to allow suspended junior water rights to temporarily divert during higher streamflow conditions
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Executive Director Zak Covar signed an order today restricting diversions by some municipal water-right holders whose water rights are junior to senior water-right holders, including Dow Chemical Company, in the Brazos River Basin. The TCEQ also restricted water rights for idled power generation facilities. Today’s order also includes the provisions of the Jan. 8, 2013 order which allows junior water-right holders in the Brazos to temporarily divert or impound water to take advantage of recent and any additional rainfall if streamflow measurements reach certain thresholds. All suspended water-right holders, including those suspended under today’s order, are subject to this relief if streamflow conditions are met. Both orders will be considered by the commission at the Jan. 30, 2013 agenda.
On Nov. 19, 2012, in response to a priority call by Dow on Nov. 14, 2012, the executive director of the TCEQ issued an order and notified certain junior water-right holders in the Brazos River Basin below Possum Kingdom Lake with a priority date of 1942 or later that their right to divert or impound water was immediately suspended. Suspended water rights included those with a priority date of 1942 or later, term, and temporary water-right permits in the Brazos River Basin below Possum Kingdom Lake. Some junior water rights for municipal and power generating uses were not suspended in the interest of public health and safety. This action was modified and affirmed by the commission on Dec. 5, 2012. Today’s action is based upon data collected from these water-right holders since that time.
The TCEQ has been working closely with municipal and power generating water-right holders to determine minimum requirements needed to protect supplies for public health, safety, and welfare concerns. This modified order provides that protection while preserving water for senior water-right holders downstream who are authorized to divert. Some municipal and power generators’ water rights were suspended or adjusted based on information related to water use and alternative supplies.
The TCEQ will continue to monitor the situation closely and respond as necessary for any changed conditions affecting public welfare. See the Texas Drought Information Web page for the latest information on this, other issues pertaining to the drought, and information on conservation.
All water users in the state are encouraged to continue to conserve water use.