>> Questions or Comments: wras@tceq.texas.gov
You are here:

Drought Contingency Plans

Who must prepare a drought contingency plan, deadlines, requirements and forms.
  • Drought Contingency Plans

    Drought Contingency Plans (DCP) are required by law for certain entities. This page includes an explanation of when submittal of a DCP is required as well as details for submission of plans including: deadlines, requirements, and model plans and forms.

    Rules and Statutes Relevant to DCPs


    Submittal Requirements, What/When to Submit:

    Submittals for Water Right Applications

    An application for a new appropriation of State Water, an amendment to increase the appropriation of State Water, or an amendment to change the place or purpose of use, may require submittal of a DCP with your water rights application.  The Water Right Application Forms will guide you as to whether a DCP is required for your particular application and will provide instructions on the requirements for your plan if one is required.


    Five-Year DCP Submittal


    New Reminder – May 1, 2019 Deadline to Submit Drought Contingency Plan.

    Under Texas Water Code Chapter 11 and Title 30 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 288, the following entities are required to develop, implement, and submit Drought Contingency Plans to the TCEQ every five years:



    Required plans and reports


    Form No.


    Retail Public Water Supplier with 3,300 or more connections*

    DCP to TCEQ




    Irrigation Water Provider (Irrigation Districts)

    DCP to TCEQ




    Wholesale Public Water Supplier

    DCP to TCEQ




    Retail public water suppliers with less than 3,300 connections must prepare and adopt a drought contingency plan and make the plan available for inspection by TCEQ, but they are not required to submit plans to TCEQ.

    The current deadline to submit Drought Contingency Plans to the TCEQ is May 1, 2019.  The TCEQ will accept these items beginning January 1, 2019 via mail or email to the addresses provided below.   Please include “Five Year DCP Submittal” in the subject line of your email or mailed letter.

    Revised Drought Contingency Plans:

     If a DCP is revised and adopted in between 5-year submittal deadlines, the updated DCP must be submitted to the TCEQ within 90 days of adoption.  The revised plans must also include water conservation implementation reports.

    Revised plans can be submitted via email or by mail to the TCEQ (contact information provided below).  Please include “Revised DCP” in the subject line of your email or mailed letter.

    What to Include:

    The TCEQ has developed guidance and model drought contingency plans to help entities prepare plans and reports (below). Entities may use the model plans with their pertinent information included or submit their own plans and reports with all required information. Generally, if you follow the instructions/checklists on the forms provided, and consult the appropriate rules noted above, the requirements will be met.

    • For retail public water suppliers (TCEQ-20191) PDF 
    • For wholesale public water suppliers (TCEQ-20193) PDF 
    • For irrigation districts (TCEQ-20192) PDF 


    Additional Guidance for DCPs:

    Retail Public Water Suppliers Requirements

    All retail public water suppliers are required to prepare and adopt a DCP to be available upon request by a TCEQ inspector; however, as noted above, only a retail public water supplier with 3,300 connections or more must submit its adopted DCP to the TCEQ for review.

    Wholesale Public Water Suppliers Requirements

    All wholesale public water suppliers are required to submit a DCP to the TCEQ.  The requirements for DCPs for Wholesale Public Water Suppliers are similar to those for retail public water suppliers; however, Wholesale DCPs also include the following requirements: 

    • Pro rata curtailment of water deliveries to or diversions by wholesale water customers as provided in Texas Water Code, §11.039 (Distribution of Water During Shortage), and
    • A provision in every wholesale water contract entered into or renewed after adoption of the plan, that in case of a shortage of water resulting from drought, the water to be distributed shall be divided in accordance with Texas Water Code, §11.039.


    Providing documentation of implementation of a plan

    The means of implementation and enforcement of the plan shall be evidenced by a copy of the ordinance, resolution, or tariff indicating the official adoption of the plan by the governing body.

    Providing documentation of coordination with the regional water planning group (RWPG)

    Plans must include documentation of coordination with the appropriate regional water planning groups in order to ensure consistency with the appropriate approved regional water plans. Examples include a copy of a cover letter indicating that the plan was provided to the RWPG, or a statement in the plan that a copy of the plan was submitted to the RWPG.

    Information about the RWPGs can be found on the TWDB website.

    Additional Information or Assistance:

    For assistance in developing a DCP or completing these forms, please contact the Conservation staff of the Resource Protection Team in the Water Availability Division at (512) 239-4691, or email wcp@tceq.texas.gov.

    Where to Submit Plans:

    Submit Drought Contingency Plans electronically by email to wcp@tceq.texas.gov or by mail to the following address:

    Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
    Resource Protection Team
    P.O. Box 13087 MC-160
    Austin, Texas 78711-3087

    Implementation of Mandatory Provisions:

    Wholesale or retail water suppliers are required to notify the TCEQ within five business days of the implementation of any mandatory provisions of their drought contingency plan. The PWS Drought Contingency Plan Reporting Form is available to fill out and submit online.  For questions regarding this form, contact the TCEQ Public Drinking Water Section Drought Team at 512-239-4691.

    For More Information:

    For more information or assistance, please contact Conservation staff of the Resource Protection Team at 512-239-4691 or email wcp@tceq.texas.gov.