TCEQ Lifts Restrictions on Water Rights
As a result of recent rainfall events, domestic and livestock water users have rescinded their priority calls. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality notified junior water-right holders in the basin that their right to divert or store water is no longer suspended.
On August 26, 2013, the TCEQ responded to a priority call in the San Saba River Watershed by notifying certain junior water-right holders with a priority date of 1900 or later that their right to divert was suspended. Because the domestic and livestock calls have been rescinded, junior water-right holders can store and divert water again according to the terms of their permits.
The TCEQ continues to monitor the situation closely and strives to balance protection of senior and superior surface water rights while attempting to minimize the impact to junior water-right holders, within TCEQ’s authority.
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.
Drought conditions continue to be widespread across the state. The TCEQ has asked that all San Saba River Basin 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.