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What is Texas Water Planning?

Water planning in Texas is the process where officials take a long-term look at Texas’ water needs and how to meet them. The current method of water planning stems from the passage of Senate Bill 1 by the 75th Texas Legislature in 1997. This bill set as its goals providing for the development, management and conservation of water resources and preparation for responding to drought conditions.The planning process takes place to ensure that sufficient water will be available for reasonable cost f...
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What is yield?

Yield refers to the amount of water produced by a water treatment process or the quantity of water that can be collected for a given use from surface or groundwater sources. The yield may vary depending on the proposed use, the development plan, location of the water source and economic considerations.
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What is appropriation doctrine?

This doctrine has its roots in the 1800s, when Texas officials determined riparian doctrine did not address the needs of more arid parts of the state. Since the late 19th century, land acquired from the state has used prior-appropriation doctrine instead of riparian when considering water rights.Under this approach, water rights are based on seniority.  In other words, one’s water rights are based on the date one applied for the right, with older claimants having seniority. However, those pre-e...
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Who has water rights in Texas?

Water rights in Texas are complicated.  They date back to Spanish colonial law, but also include influences from English common law, a history of state legislation as well as judicial decisions. Water rights in Texas are further complicated because ground and surface water rights are approached differently. Generally, water rights law determine who can use water, how much may be used and for what purpose.
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What is water rights adjudication?

Different laws for surface water use have led to conflicting claims over time. In 1967, the Texas Legislature directed a predecessor of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to settle claims. The agency looked at all claims and issued certificates of adjudication for those they approved. Each was assigned a priority date that determined the claimant’s seniority for water rights.
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What are senior and junior water rights?

Senior rights have an earlier priority date and claimants who hold them have a higher priority to divert water from a stream or water body than those with more junior rights. However, in times of scarcity, when there is not enough water to meet demand in a basin, those who need water for domestic and livestock use have first right to water, regardless of one’s priority date.After domestic and livestock needs are met, those with senior water rights can insist diversions by those with junior wate...
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What is a priority date?

The Texas Water Code provides for water permitting in a “first in time; first in right” basis.  This practice establishes a place in line for water users with the earliest permits being guaranteed priority to take water over those with more “junior” permits.  This date is important as it determines who priority to divert and use water first.
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The information provided on this site is intended as background on water within the Brazos River basin. There should be no expectation that this information is all encompassing, complete or in any way examines every aspect of this very complex natural resource.

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