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Evaluating Basins for New Watermaster Programs

The TCEQ assesses the potential role of watermasters in managing water rights in each basin with no existing watermaster program.

For each basin that does not have a watermaster program, the TCEQ:

  • evaluates each river basin or coastal basin
  • assesses whether or not to appoint a watermaster in that basin
  • reports our findings to the Legislature
  • at least once every five years, repeats this assessment

TCEQ’s watermaster evaluations are required by Texas Water Code §§ 11.326(g) and (h).

What criteria will be considered?

The Commission outlined the following evaluation criteria in the Commission’s September 28, 2011 Work Session:

  • 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?

Which basins are being evaluated now?

In 2022, we are evaluating the Upper Brazos River Basin (upstream of Possum Kingdom Lake), San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal Basin, Brazos-Colorado Coastal Basin, Colorado River Basin, and the Colorado-Lavaca Coastal Basins.

Stakeholder Meetings

Stakeholder meetings took place June of 2022 in San Angelo, Abilene, San Saba and virtually through Microsoft Teams. 

application/pdfNotice of Stakeholder Meetings

Participating in the Process

To include the public and to develop the best recommendations, we are soliciting 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. 

Please email or mail any initial comments you have by April 14, 2022.   Your initial comments will assist the TCEQ in developing the information for presentation at stakeholder meetings planned for June 2022.  The TCEQ will then accept any comments/additional comments from stakeholders through June 28, 2022.

  • Email:  watermaster@tceq.texas.gov
  • Regular Mail:  Stephen Kinal, Watermaster Section Liaison, Water Availability Division, TCEQ, MC-160, P.O. Box 13087, Austin, Texas 78711-3087.  

The input received from stakeholders will be discussed at the TCEQ Commissioners’ Agenda tentatively scheduled for late summer.

Evaluation Schedule

    • February and March 2022 – Review data and mail application/pdfinitial outreach letters requesting input from stakeholders within the basins. Comment period begins.
    • April 14, 2022 - Initial comment period ends.
    • March and April 2022 – Incorporate initial stakeholder comments into evaluation.
    • Early June 2022 – Hold stakeholder meetings and invite additional input.
    • June 28, 2022 – Comment period ends.
    • August 2022 – Finalize Evaluation report.
    • August/September 2022 – Present findings and recommendations to the TCEQ Commissioners.

Past Evaluations

Texas Water Code requires the Executive Director to evaluate basins without a watermaster at least every five years to determine if a watermaster should be appointed. The Executive Director conducted the first cycle of evaluations from 2012 through 2016. The second cycle of evaluations began in 2017 and concluded in 2021.

2021: Cypress Creek and Sulphur River Basins

2020: Canadian and Red River Basins

2019: Neches River and Sabine River Basins

2018: Trinity River, San Jacinto River, Trinity-San Jacinto Coastal and Neches-Trinity Coastal Basins.

2017: Coastal, Colorado River and the Colorado-Lavaca Coastal Basins. 

2016: Cypress Creek and Sulphur River Basins

To learn more about the Watermaster program

Contact us!

If you have any questions on this process or would like to submit comments on the current evaluations, please contact our watermaster program liaisons.

By E-mail

watermaster@tceq.texas.gov - Include comments in the body of the e-mail or in an attachment.

By Phone

Stephen Kinal at 512-239-4010

By Letter

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