Evaluating Basins for Possible Watermaster Programs
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 in each basin
What basins have been evaluated?
In 2013 we evaluated the following basins:
- Trinity River Basin
- Trinity-San Jacinto Coastal Basin
- San Jacinto River Basin, and
- San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal Basin
The following four basins were evaluated in 2012:
- Brazos River Basin
- Brazos-Colorado Coastal Basin
- Colorado River Basin, and
- Colorado-Lavaca Coastal Basin
In January 2013 TCEQ received a petition to appoint a watermaster in the Brazos River Basin. The commission referred the issue to the State Office of Administrative Hearings and we are awaiting a proposal for decision from SOAH.
When will other basins be considered?
We plan to follow this general schedule to evaluate the remaining basins that do not have a watermaster:
- Sabine River Basin
- Neches River Basin
- Neches-Trinity Coastal Basin
- Canadian River Basin
- Red River Basin
- Sulfur River Basin
- Cypress Creek Basin
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 these evaluations?
We generally follow the schedule below in our basin reviews:
- January to May – review data and documents.
- May through July – hold stakeholder meetings and complete basin evaluations.
- August through September – present findings and recommendations to the TCEQ Commissioners.
- January – Submit report to the Legislature.
Will I have a chance to offer input?
In an effort to include the public and develop the best recommendations, we solicit input from stakeholders, including water right holders, domestic and livestock users, river authorities, agricultural, industrial, and environmental organizations, the general public, and other interested parties. As part of the solicitation, we mail notifications to all current water right holders within the basin being evaluated and also hold stakeholder meetings in conveniently located places.
In order that we may best review your comments, please include the following information in your comment:
- The river or other water body you are interested with.
- Your affiliation (for example, a water right holder with water right permit number if known, an exempt domestic and livestock user, an adjacent landowner, an interested party, environmental organization, etc.).
How will you use my input?
Staff will use your inputs to prepare the Executive Directors' findings that has to be presented to the Commissioners. Commissioners decision will then be 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 our initial evaluations.
How can I stay informed?
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More questions? Contact us!
If you have any questions on this process, please e-mail or call our watermaster program liaisons:
- Michael Redda at 512-239-4631
- Cindy Hooper at 210-403-4080
Amy Settemeyer, Manager
Watermaster Section (MC-160)
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
PO Box 13087
Austin TX 78711-3087
You may put your comment in the body of the e-mail or include it as an attachment.