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Evaluating Basins for Possible Watermaster Programs

The Sunset Commission report to the 82nd Texas Legislature (HB 2694) addressed concerns regarding water rights in Texas. In particular, the Sunset Commission considered the potential role of watermasters in managing water rights in each basin.

Under this legislation, we must:

  • Evaluate each river basin or coastal basin that does not have a watermaster.
  • Assess whether or not there is a need to appoint a watermaster in that basin.
  • Report our findings to the Legislature.
  • At least once every five years, repeat this assessment for basins without a watermaster.

Which basins are being evaluated now?

We are evaluating the Cypress Creek and Sulphur River Basins in 2016. We mailed initial stakeholder letters to water right holders within the basins on March 10, 2016. This initial outreach also included a watermaster fact sheet which is provided below. 

Can I participate?

Yes, we want your input. We invite you to attend a stakeholder meeting and to provide written input on the basins we are reviewing.  If you have any questions about the evaluation process or additional comments to share, please contact our watermaster program liaisons.

Stakeholder Meetings

Stakeholder meetings will be scheduled in early summer of 2016 for the Sulphur River and Cypress Creek Basins. If you have any comments or would like to be included on notifications for these meetings, please contact us.

If you have any questions about this process or additional comments to share, please contact our watermaster program liaisons.

How can I offer input?

If you have comments about the Sulphur River or Cypress Creek Basins, please contact us. In early 2016 we will prepare a schedule for outreach and evaluation, but are always accepting input on these or any basins for which you have comments. 

By letter: If you want to comment by letter, address it to:

Amy Settemeyer, Manager
Watermaster Section (MC-160)
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
PO Box 13087
Austin TX 78711-3087

By e-mail: Send your e-mail to watermaster@tceq.texas.gov. You may put your comment in the body of the e-mail or include it as an attachment.

How will you use my input?

We review all comments received as we prepare the evaluation documents that will be presented to the Commissioners and eventually reported to the Legislature.

If you provide comments on basins that will be evaluated in future years, we will collect your comments and include them as we begin those evaluations.

What criteria will be considered?

As we evaluate each basin, we will consider these questions:

  • Has there been a court order to create a watermaster?
  • Have we received a petition requesting a watermaster?
  • Have senior water rights been threatened in that basin, based on any factors such as:
    • senior calls made,
    • water shortages, or
    • water-right complaints received?

What is the timeline for the evaluation?

We will generally follow the schedule below in our upcoming review of the Sulphur River and Cypress Creek Basins:

  • February and March 2016 – Review data and documents, and send letters requesting input.
  • March and April 2016 - Incorporate stakeholder comments into evaluation.
  • May and June 2016 – Hold stakeholder meetings and invite additional input.
  • August through September 2016 – Present findings and recommendations to the TCEQ Commissioners.
  • January 2017 – Submit report to the Legislature.

How can I stay informed?

Sign up for e-mail updates through GovDelivery. It's easy and fast!

When will other basins be considered?

The first five-year evaluation cycle began in 2012. That year we evaluated the Brazos River Basin, the Brazos-Colorado Coastal Basin, the Colorado River Basin, and the Colorado-Lavaca Coastal Basin. The Executive Director's findings and recommendations for these basins were presented at the Commissioners’ Agenda on October 31, 2012. We provided backup materials for the Commission Agenda.

In 2013, we evaluated the Trinity River Basin, the Trinity-San Jacinto Coastal Basin, the San Jacinto River Basin, and the San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal Basin. The E.D.'s findings and recommendations for these basins were presented at the Commissioners’ Agenda on September 4, 2013. We provided backup materials for the meeting.

In 2014, the Sabine River Basin, Neches River Basin, and Neches-Trinity Coastal Basin were evaluated and the E.D.'s findings and recommendations for these basins were presented at the Commissioners’ Agenda on August 20, 2014. We provided backup materials for the agenda meeting.

In 2015, we evaluated the Canadian and Red River Basins. The E.D.'s findings and recommendations for these basins were presented at a Commissioners' Agenda on August 19, 2015 and we provide detailed backup materials for that meeting.

The remaining basins will be evaluated according to the following schedule:

2016:

  • Sulphur River Basin
  • Cypress Creek Basin

More questions? Contact us!

If you have any questions on this process or would like to submit comments on the current evaluations, please e-mail or call our watermaster program liaison:

  • Brooke McGregor at 512-239-2025
  • Stephen Kinal at 512-239-1401

By Letter

Amy Settemeyer, Manager
Watermaster Section (MC-160)
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
PO Box 13087
Austin TX 78711-3087

By E-mail

watermaster@tceq.texas.gov - You may put comments in the body of the e-mail or include them in an attachment.