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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 are evaluating the Sabine River and Neches River Basins. Initial stakeholder letters were mailed March 11, 2019.

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. Letters notifying stakeholders of meeting specifics were mailed on May 3, 2019.

6:00 p.m. – June 11, 2019
TCEQ Region 10 Office
3870 Eastex Freeway
Beaumont, Texas 77703
6:00 p.m. – June 12, 2019
Angelina College
Community Services Bldg., Room CS104
3500 South First Street
Lufkin, Texas 75904
6:00 p.m. – June 13, 2019
TCEQ Region 5 Office
2916 Teague Drive
Tyler, Texas 75701 



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 11-13, 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
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.