TCEQ restricts junior water rights in Upper Brazos
Drought conditions are worsening in many parts of the state. As a result, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is informing water-rights holders in the Brazos River Basin that water rights will be administered on a priority basis.
On Nov. 19, 2012, in response to a priority call by Dow Chemical Company 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 water is immediately suspended. Suspended water rights include those with a priority date of 1942 or later, term, and temporary water-right permits in the Brazos River Basin below Possum Kingdom Lake.
In order to protect public health and welfare, water rights with municipal uses, domestic uses, or for power generation have not been suspended at this time. Land owners with property adjacent to the Brazos River may also continue to divert water for domestic and livestock use as part of their inherent riparian rights.
These actions are guided by Texas Water Code Section 11.053, 30 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 36, and 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 Brazos River Basin water-right holders continue to take appropriate 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. See more Texas drought information.