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In Texas, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) administers surface water rights by priority doctrine (first in time, first in right). When a senior water right holder is not getting the water to which it is entitled, it can make a senior water right call and request TCEQ enforcement of the priority doctrine. The drought of 2011 and ongoing drought conditions have challenged the priority doctrine.

In 2011, TCEQ received 15 senior water right calls resulting in the suspension of approximately 1,200 water right permits. Senior water right calls were made in the Brazos,...

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TagsWater Rights, TCEQ, drought,

Over the last year, Freese and Nichols has hosted half-day and one-hour seminars to discuss Texas' drought with recommendations on how clients can respond. Questions included: How does the Texas drought affect our clients? How does the 2011 drought compare to previous droughts? How long will the drought last? What can our clients do in response to the drought?  Click here to view the February 2012 presentation for the one-hour Freese and Nichols drought seminar.  Click...

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TagsHistorical Drought Information, Drought Response, Drought Outlook, historical drought maps, Drought Index, Current Drought Conditions, Drought Monitor, Forecasts, Water Rights, fast-track project, Climate, La Nina, Drought Contingency,

By Guest Author – Brad B. Castleberry, Principal; Lloyd Gosselink Attorneys and Counselors

In addition to drought contingency plans, some owners should consider the stability of their water supplies, especially if the source is surface water. Surface water rights in Texas are governed by the prior appropriation doctrine, which means "first in time, first in right." Drought conditions in 2011 resulted in priority calls in several Texas river basins.  

TCEQ held a stakeholder meeting in August 2011 and a public hearing in December 2011 to discuss implementation...

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TagsWater Rights, TCEQ, Priority, Drought Response,

What should you consider?

  • Water contract and right restrictions
  • Drought contingency plan requirements
  • Supplier, customer and regulatory agency coordination
  • Coordination with governing bodies
  • Connected supply and demand comparison
  • Reactions of others and impact on water supply
  • Low lake levels and intake elevations
  • Transmission system restrictions
  • Increased losses in bed and banks delivery
  • Impacts on water demand
  • Impacts on water quality
  • Available drought
  • ...

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TagsWater Rights, Tips, lake levels, drought, Conservation,