About Water Availability and Water Rights Permitting in Texas
Water in the rivers, streams, underflow, creeks, tides, lakes and every bay and arm of the Texas portion of the Gulf of Mexico is considered state water. Its use may be acquired through appropriation via the permitting process established in Texas Water Code, Chapter 11, and Title 30, Texas Administrative Code.
The state may authorize the use of state water through a permitting system administered by the TCEQ or by the adjudication of claims by state court under the state's water rights adjudication act. Chapter 11 of the Texas Water Code provides which water uses require a permit and the specific criteria to be used by the TCEQ in its review and action on a permit application.
Each application for a permit is reviewed for administrative and technical requirements to evaluate its impact on other water rights, bays and estuaries, conservation, water availability, public welfare, etc. Although one technical review may be based on data from another, most technical reviews are done concurrently along with the administrative review.
After the administrative process is complete, notice is given to the chief clerk's office upon administrative completeness. One notice is required by law. Opportunity for a hearing is given. Permits may be issued in perpetuity, for a limited number of years (term), or for temporary uses.
The TCEQ provides pre-application project planning and coordination for surface water use projects, making sure that all administrative and technical requirements are known to the client. The commission processes applications and acts as project manager in coordination with the various technical/legal groups that review the application. This gives the client one contact within the agency for most information relating to their application.
For further details see Rights to Surface Water in Texas.
For more information about water rights permitting or help with filling out forms, please call 512/239-4691.
The application forms for permanent and temporary water rights as well as for mariculture permits and golf course irrigation permits are available by clicking on the Water Right Permit Applications link.