TCEQ restricts junior water rights
Drought conditions continue to be widespread across the state. As a result, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is informing water-rights holders in the Llano River Basin that water rights will be administered on a priority basis.
Today the executive director of the TCEQ notified certain junior water-right holders in the Llano River Basin with a priority date of 1950 or later that their right to divert water is immediately suspended. Suspended water rights include those with a priority date of 1950 or later, term, and temporary water-right permits in the Llano River Basin above the City of Llano.
In order to protect public health and welfare, water rights with municipal uses have not been suspended. Land owners with property adjacent to the Llano River may also continue to divert water for domestic and livestock use as part of their inherent riparian rights.
These actions are guided by the priority doctrine in Texas law. The most senior water rights are served first during times of drought with domestic and livestock uses superior to any appropriated rights. Water rights are suspended or curtailed by priority date, with the most recently issued – or “junior” – priority users suspended before senior water rights in the area.
The TCEQ has asked that all Llano River water-right holders take steps to conserve water, implement their drought contingency plans, and prepare for additional suspensions or curtailments should drought conditions persist.
Water is a precious resource – all Texans are encouraged to conserve, especially during times of drought. For more, see Texas drought information.