TCEQ warns of possible curtailment of water rights
Despite recent rains, drought conditions remain widespread across the state. As a result, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently informed water rights holders that the agency may need to administer water rights on a priority basis - if drought conditions persist.
The TCEQ is responsible for protecting water rights and ensuring that water is only diverted according to permitted levels. Diversions are managed more closely in times of drought, to avoid shortages, based on the priority date of each water right - earliest first. If restrictions become necessary, junior water rights, or those rights issued most recently, are suspended or adjusted before the senior water rights in the area.
Texas water law provides that riparian landowners, those that own land adjacent to a river or stream, have a right, superior to appropriated water rights, to take water from the river or stream for domestic and livestock purposes.
The executive director and his staff will closely monitor drought conditions throughout the state and take actions when necessary to control diversions.
Agency staff members also consult public water systems regarding implementation of their drought contingency plans. These plans manage water usage, reduce peak demand and extend water supplies.
Water is a precious resource, and the TCEQ encourages all Texans to conserve, especially in times of drought.
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