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1. TCEQ Environmental Flows and Water Rights Permitting Bruce Moulton
Policy & Regulations
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
2. 5.013 General Jurisdiction of Commission (a) The commission has general jurisdiction over:
(l) water and water rights including the issuance of water rights permits, water rights adjudication, cancellation of water rights, and enforcement of water rights;
3. Acquisition of Right to use State Water The right to the use of state water may be acquired by appropriation in the manner and for the purposes provided in this chapter (11.022)
4. Purposes for Which Water May be Appropriated-11.023 (a) State water may be appropriated, stored or diverted for:
Domestic/Livestock, Municipal, Agricultural & Industrial, Mining, Hydroelectric, Navigation, Recreation & Pleasure, Public Parks, Game Preserves
(b)State water also may be appropriated, stored, or diverted for any other beneficial use.
5. 11.0235 Policy Regarding Waters of the State (a) The waters of the state are held in trust for the public, and the right to use state water may be appropriated only as expressly authorized by law.
(b) Maintaining the biological soundness of the states rivers, lakes, bays, and estuaries is of great importance to the publics economic health and general well being.
6. 11.0235 Cont. (c) The legislature has expressly required the commission while balancing all other interests to consider and provide for the freshwater inflows necessary to maintain the viability of the states bay and estuary systems in the commissions regular granting of permits for the use of state waters.
7. 11.0235 Cont. (d) The legislature has not expressly authorized granting water rights exclusively for:
Instream flows dedicated to environmental needs or inflows to the states bay and estuary system; or
(2) Other similar beneficial uses.
8. 11.0235 Cont. (e) The fact that greater pressures and demands are being placed on the water resources of the state makes it of paramount importance to reexamine the process for ensuring that these important priorities are effectively addressed in clear delegations of authority to the commission.
9. Granting a Water Right In its consideration of an application for a new or amended water right, the Commission shall assess the effects, if any, on the issuance of the permit or amendment on:
1. Bays and Estuaries --11.147(b)
2. Existing Instream Uses-- 11.147(d)
3. Fish & Wildlife Habitats-- 11.147(e), 11.152
4. Water Quality-- 11.150
5. Groundwater or Groundwater Recharge--11.151
10. Applications Subject to an Environmental Assessment Increase the total appropriative amount
Significant change in point of diversion (e.g., moving the diversion point a considerable distance upstream where streamflows are significantly less, moving the diversion point to a tributary, or moving the diversion point into habitat of threatened or endangered species)
Change in diversion rate
Significant change in place of use
11. Instream Flow Recommendations Site specific studies When available, site specific information is used.
In the absence of site specific information, staff apply the Lyons Method (Bounds and Lyons, 1979). This methodology uses 60% of the median flow during the warm months (March-September) and 40% of median during cool months (October February).
In instances where the 7Q2 value (two year, seven day low flow) is greater than Lyons, 7Q2 is used.
12. Freshwater Inflows For permits issued within an area that is within 200 river miles of the coast the Commission shall include in the permit, to the extent practicable when considering public interests, those conditions necessary to maintain beneficial inflows to any effected bay and estuary system.
13. Freshwater Inflows Freshwater Inflow studies have been conducted for the seven major estuaries. Studies on the minor estuarine systems are scheduled to be completed by 2008.
Recommendations for the Lavaca-Colorado Estuary were developed by the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Inflow recommendations for three estuaries have been completed by the TPWD in consultation with the TWDB.
14. Bays & Estuaries Data For purposes of determining conditions necessary to maintain beneficial inflows, the commission shall consider among other factors studies and plans specified in Section 11.1491 of this code and other studies considered by the commission to be reliable
15. Case Studies Matagorda Bay (Colorado-Lavaca Estuary): Results of the freshwater inflow study incorporated into LCRAs Water Management Plan for the Lower Colorado River.
Nueces Estuary: Freshwater inflows for Nueces Bay are specified in the Agreed Order for the operation of the Choke Canyon - Lake Corpus Christi system.
Lavaca Bay: Freshwater inflow release schedule was developed as part of the LNVAs Lake Texana water right amendment in 1996.
16. Lower Colorado River Authority Water Rights for Highland Lakes adjudicated in 1988
Required a Water Management Plan
Included maintenance of instream flows and freshwater inflows for the Matagorda Bay system
In 1992, Instream Flow Study completed
17. Water Management Plan-Process Review of policies and programs
Series of public meetings to solicit input
Issues inventory briefing papers prepared for each meeting
Summaries of meetings prepared for public review
18. Instream Flow Needs (LCRA) MOU with TPWD w/goal of maintaining F&W resources in lower basin
Established to sets of flow needs: (1) critical flows and (2) target flows
CriticalDaily minimum flows to maintain a viable aquatic habitat
TargetDaily flows which maximize available aquatic habitat
19. Bay & Estuary Needs (LCRA) Cooperative agreement w/TWDB,TPWD, and TNRCC to perform study
Established two levels of inflow needs: (1) Target and (2) Critical
20. B&E Needs (LCRA) Cont. CriticalMinimum total annual inflow to keep salinity at 25ppt or below at mouth of rivers. Provide sanctuary during droughts
21. LCRA Environmental Flow Recommendations Incorporated into the LCRA Water Management Plan
Freshwater inflow restudy
22. Instream Flow Targets (cfs)
23. Target & Critical Freshwater Inflow Needs
24. Nueces Estuary Advisory Council Letter submitted to the TWC in December 1989 alleging non-compliance with special conditions contained in a water right permit held by the City of Corpus Christi and the Nueces River Authority
25. SPECIAL CONDITION 5.B. Following completion and filling of Choke Canyon Dam and Reservoir, scheduled releases shall be made from the reservoir system at Lake Corpus Christi Dam together with return flows to the estuaries for the proper ecological environment and health of related living marine resources therein. Water provided to the estuaries from the reservoir system under this paragraph shall be released in such quantities and in accordance with such operational procedures as may be ordered by the Commission.
26. 5.B. (Cont.) Permittees shall provide not less than 151,000 acre-feet of water per annum for the estuaries by a combination of releases and spills from the reservoir system at Lake Corpus Christi Dam and return flows to Nueces and Corpus Christi Bays and other receiving estuaries.
27. Commission Actions Established Technical Advisory Committee
Acting on TAC recommendations, established interim inflow targets and created Nueces Estuary Advisory Council to develop operational procedures to meet the purposes of the Special Condition
Issued an Interim Agreed Order
28. Agreed Order 1992Interim Agreed Order Issued
1995Final Agreed Order Issued
1997,2001, and 2002Agreed Order Amended
29. Agreed Order The City of Corpus Christi, as Operator of the Reservoir System, shall provide not less than 151, 000 acft of water per annum for the estuaries
>70% storage capacity138,000 acft target
>40% but less than 70%--97,000 acft target
>30% but less than 40%-- 1,200 acft target*
<30%-- Total suspension of Pass-thrus*
* Implementation of Drought Contingency Provisions
30. Target f.w. Inflow Needs(in acft) for the Nueces Estuary
31. Location of the demonstration project features: two overflow channels and the monitoring stations.Location of the demonstration project features: two overflow channels and the monitoring stations.
32. Lake Texana (Palmetto Bend) Water Right Permit issued in September 1972
Contained provision: Until the TWDB has provided for the sale and/or use of all waters authorized to be diverted from this project in the manner prescribed, the TX Water Rights Comm. May, upon application and proper order,
33. Provision (Cont.) authorize and order the release of State water for any beneficial purpose, including releases of water for research purposes in the Lavaca-Matagorda Bay and Estuary System.
34. Adjudication of Water Rights Certificate of Adjudication issued in 1981
Amended in 1985Provision: This certificate is issued subject to all senior and superior water rights and, as may be determined by the Commission, to the release of water for the maintenance of the Lavaca-Matagorda Bay and Estuary System
35. Environmental Studies Joint effort by LNRA, TWDB, TPWD, and Sierra Club
Certificate amended in 1994 to add Bay and Estuary release schedule
2-tiered approach based on reservoir capacity
Pass thrus based on historical monthly medians and/or means
36. Target Inflows (in cfs)-Pass up to
37. Galveston Bay Freshwater Inflows Group Convened in 1996 through the efforts of the Galveston Bay Foundation, City of Houston, and Trinity River Authority
GOAL: Develop a process that will lead to resolution of concerns about freshwater inflows to Galveston Bay
38. Mission Statement To reach consensus among stakeholders on an evolving process to develop a scientifically-based management plan and implementation strategies that will provide freshwater inflows to maintain an ecologically sound environment for the Galveston Bay System.
39. GBFIG Process Created Workgroup
Developed Work Plan
1998TPWD Preliminary Freshwater Inflow Values
TPWD Staff recommendation of: Max H (5.22 million acft) as the lowest freshwater inflow target value which generally fulfills the biological needs of the Galveston Estuary on a seasonal basis
40. GBFIG Process (cont.) In 2001 Final Recommendations Published By TPWD
Recommended: a target inflow within the range from Min Q (4.16 millions acft) to Max H (5.22 million acft)
Formed the basis for the GBFIG environmental flow recommendations to Region H