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Evaluating Basins for Possible 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

[82nd Texas Legislature (HB 2694), Sunset Commission Report]

What criteria will be considered?

  • 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 2019, we will be evaluating the Sabine River and Neches River Basins.

Stakeholder Meetings

The TCEQ will hold meetings across the basins being evaluated in 2019, during which time staff will provide additional information about the evaluation process and accept public comments. Details and information regarding specifics will be made available once the meeting locations, dates and times have been set. 

Evaluation Schedule

    • February and March 2019 – Review data and send fact sheet and letters requesting input from water right holders within the basins.
    • March and April 2019 – Incorporate stakeholder comments into evaluation.
    • June 2019 – Hold stakeholder meetings and invite additional input.
    • Summer, 2019 – Comment Period.
    • August 2019 – Finalize report.
    • August 2019 – 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.

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

 

2017: Upper Brazos River, San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal, Brazos-Colorado Coastal, Colorado River and the Colorado-Lavaca Coastal Basins. 

 

2016: Cypress Creek and Sulphur River Basins

 

2015: Canadian and Red River Basins

 

2014: Sabine River, Neches River, and Neches-Trinity Coastal Basins

 

2013: Trinity River, the Trinity-San Jacinto Coastal, the San Jacinto River, and the San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal Basins

 

2012: Brazos River, Brazos-Colorado Coastal, Colorado River, and the Colorado-Lavaca Coastal Basins

 

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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 Phone

      • Brooke McGregor at 512-239-2025
      • 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

By E-mail

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