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South Texas Watermaster Program

The South Texas Watermaster Program administers water rights in four river basins along with their associated coastal basins in south Texas.

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Jurisdiction

The South Texas Watermaster Program is responsible for an area that encompasses 50 counties in south Texas.

River Basin                                                                      Counties
Guadalupe Bandera, Bastrop, Blanco, Caldwell, Calhoun, Comal, DeWitt, Fayette, Gillespie, Goliad, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Victoria, Wilson
Lavaca Colorado, DeWitt, Fayette, Jackson, Lavaca, Wharton
Lavaca-Guadalupe Coastal Calhoun, DeWitt, Jackson, Lavaca, Victoria
Nueces Atascosa, Bandera, Bee, Bexar, Dimmit, Duval, Edwards, Frio, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kerr, Kinney, La Salle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Nueces, Real, San Patricio, Uvalde, Webb, Wilson, Zavala
Nueces–Rio Grande Coastal Brooks, Duval, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Nueces, Starr, Webb, Willacy
San Antonio Bandera, Bexar, Comal, DeWitt, Goliad, Guadalupe, Karnes, Kendall, Kerr, Medina, Victoria, Wilson
San Antonio–Nueces Coastal

Aransas, Bee, Goliad, Karnes, Refugio, San Patricio

Six field deputies patrol these counties from offices located in Bandera, San Antonio, Stockdale, Corpus Christi and Beeville. Water-right management is based on “run of the river rights.” That means the deputies oversee a constantly changing, dynamic surface-water system of rivers and tributaries that allow diversions as water is available and as it passes individual diversion points.

Duties of the Watermaster

Duties include:

  • informing individuals and groups as needed about water rights and other surface water availability matters;
  • allocating water per the adjudicated water rights;
  • tracking the amount of water that is authorized and used;
  • monitoring stream flow and reservoir levels within the basin;
  • enforcing compliance with water rights;
  • responding to complaints.

The watermaster will also oversee situations where a diversion would remove water that rightfully belongs to another user. In that case the watermaster could, if needed, notify the user with lower priority to reduce or stop pumping. When streamflows diminish, the watermaster will allocate available water among the water right holders according to each user’s priority date.

Water Diverter Responsibilities

A diverter is any water right holder, agent, or contractual buyer who impounds, takes, diverts, or transports water in a watercourse, or makes a dedicated release of state water. Diverters in the watermaster area will be responsible for:

  • Installing a measuring device
  • Notifying the watermaster before diverting water
  • Submitting a report when pumping is completed
  • Complying with the rules of the Commission

Fees for Water Right Holders

Water right holders will be required to pay an annual fee. Each account will be assessed a base fee (currently $50) plus a use fee based on the type of use and amount of water authorized in the permit.

South Texas Watermaster Advisory Committee

 

This Watermaster Program was established by Commission order in 1988. The Executive Director appointed a watermaster in 1990.

Contact

TCEQ Regional Office, MC-R13
14250 Judson Road
San Antonio, TX 78233-4480
Voice: (800) 733-2733
Fax: (210) 545-4329
E-mail: watermaster@tceq.texas.gov