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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 2021, we are evaluating the Cypress Creek and Sulpher River Basins.

Stakeholder Meeting

Stakeholders meetings were held electronically in June 2021.

Comments are being requested before June 30th and may be emailed to

Evaluation Schedule

    • February and March 2021 – Review data and send fact sheet and letters requesting input from water right holders within the basins.
    • March and April 2021 – Incorporate stakeholder comments into evaluation.
    • June 2021 – Hold stakeholder meetings and invite additional input.
    • Summer 2021 – Comment Period.
    • August 2021 – Finalize report.
    • August/September 2021 – 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.

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

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

  • Daniel Schroeder at 512-239-0067

By Letter

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

By E-mail - Include comments in the body of the e-mail or in an attachment.