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Recreational Use Attainability Analyses for Rivers and Streams/ Texas Waterbodies

RUAAs planned, in progress, or completed for Texas rivers and streams.

UAAs: What They Are and How They Are Used

TCEQ uses a watershed-based approach to address water quality. This approach supports integration of various state water quality programs by providing a framework and a mechanism for coordination among water quality management agencies, stakeholders, and the public. As part of this approach, it is essential to develop meaningful, yet attainable, water quality standards.

A use-attainability analysis (UAA) evaluates designated or presumed uses if there is reason to believe the standards for a water body are inappropriate due to local conditions. A UAA is a scientific assessment of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of a water body.

RUAAs

An RUAA is a specific type of UAA that is conducted to evaluate and determine what category of recreational use is appropriate for a particular water body. RUAAs are typically site-specific studies that assess reasonably attainable recreational uses based on the physical and flow characteristics of a stream—such as water depth and persistence of flow. Supporting information, including surveys of individuals and organizations with firsthand knowledge of a water body, is also collected to assess historical and existing patterns of recreational use.

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Public Participation

TCEQ actively seeks the participation of various water quality management agencies and the public. Local participation is crucial to identifying the most appropriate recreation use category. During RUAA development, stakeholders have the opportunity to give information about recreational uses based on their local knowledge and expertise. Strong participation ensures that the most appropriate use category and criteria are recommended for inclusion in the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards.

Meetings

Meetings about RUAA projects are open to everyone. There are no upcoming meetings at this time.

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Reports for Public Comment

There are no reports available for public comment at this time.

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Recommendations for Public Comment

No draft recommendations are available for public comment at this time. After comment on draft recommendations closes, TCEQ considers all comments before making a final recommendation. When TCEQ formally proposes such final recommendations, stakeholders have a second opportunity to comment on them. 

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Find RUAAs by Basin

Locate information about RUAA projects that are planned, initiated, or completed by basin name.

Basin Name

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Recreational Uses

Texas protects the quality of the state’s surface waters to ensure they are safe for various levels of recreational uses. Historically, Texas Surface Water Quality Standards considered only two recreational use categories—contact and noncontact recreation. Contact recreation was designated or presumed for virtually all surface water bodies in the state. However, there are many water bodies in the state that do not have sufficient depth or other characteristics that support primary contact recreation.

In 2010 and 2014, the commission adopted changes to the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards that added three additional levels of recreational use. The standards, as adopted, include the following categories of recreational use:

  • Primary Contact Recreation 1
    Primary contact recreation 1 – Activities that are presumed to involve a significant risk of ingestion of water (e.g., wading by children, swimming, water skiing, diving, tubing, surfing, handfishing, and the following whitewater activities: kayaking, canoeing, and rafting).
  • Primary Contact Recreation 2
    Water recreation activities, such as wading by children, swimming, water skiing, diving, tubing, surfing, handfishing, and whitewater kayaking, canoeing, and rafting, that involve a significant risk of ingesting water, but that occur less frequently than for primary contact recreation 1 due to physical characteristics of the water body or limited public access.
  • Secondary Contact Recreation 1
    Activities that commonly occur but have limited body contact incidental to shoreline activity (e.g., wading by adults, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting and motor boating). These activities are presumed to pose a less significant risk of ingesting water than primary contact recreation 1 or 2, but more than secondary contact recreation 2.
  • Secondary Contact Recreation 2
    Activities with limited body contact incidental to shoreline activity (e.g. fishing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting and motor boating) that are presumed to pose a less significant risk of ingesting water than secondary contact recreation 1. These activities occur less frequently than secondary contact recreation 1 due to physical characteristics of the water body or limited public access.
  • Noncontact Recreation
    Activities that do not involve a significant risk of water ingestion, such as those with limited body contact incidental to shoreline activity, including birding, hiking, and biking. Noncontact recreation use may also be assigned where primary and secondary contact recreation activities should not occur because of unsafe conditions, such as ship and barge traffic.

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RUAA Procedures

For More Information

E-mail us at standards@tceq.texas.gov or see contact information for staff members.

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