Water Rights Permitting Applications Process & The Watermaster Program Esteban (Steve) Ramos TCEQ South Texas and Concho Watermaster
Permit Exemptions Domestic and Livestock Wildlife Management Drilling and Producing of Petroleum Sedimentation Control Structures with Surface Mining Operations MaricultureActivities Historic Cemeteries
Pre-Application Meetings • Not mandatory; strongly suggested • Who will be there • Representatives from TCEQ Technical Teams (Permitting, Hydrology, Conservation, Environmental, Dam Safety) • Applicant and Consultants • May help applicant determine whether to proceed with application
How are Water Rights Protected? In Texas, two different practices are used to protect water rights. Relying on the an Honor System, as users do in most river basins. Appointing a Watermaster, this has been done in a few areas of Texas (South Texas/Concho River Segment, Rio Grande area)
Water Rights under the Honor System Under the honor system, the idea is that water users will obey the conditions of their water rights without supervision and cooperate with one another as they divert water from the river.
Water Rights and Watermaster The Watermaster is an officer appointed by the TCEQ who oversees river conditions and pumping volumes for water users in one or more river basins. The Watermaster also has the authority to lock up pumps for violations of the water law and can allocate flows among priority users during water shortages.
Creation of South Texas Program Creation of Rio Grande Program • South Texas Program – Implemented in 1988 by Commission order The Rio Grande Watermaster began in 1956 following court action in 1952. However, it was not until May 31, 1971, that the Commission accepted and assumed the Watermaster functions to be effective on June 1, 1971, under the Texas Water Rights Commission.
Creation of Concho Watermaster Program The Concho River Watermaster program was established by House Bill 2815, passed in the regular session, 79th Legislature, 2005
Why have a Watermaster? The allocation of water between water right holders shall be on the basis of seniority. The Watermaster shall allocate water in such a way as: to maximize the beneficial utilization of state water, to minimize the potential impairment of senior water rights by the diversion of junior water rights holder, and to prevent waste or use in excess of quantities to which the holders of water rights are lawfully entitled.
Importance of Watermaster Programs • Regional hands-on monitoring of surface water rights • Ability to enforce the priority system
Common Violations and Issues Diverting water illegally Illegally impounding State Water Failure to call in declaration of intent to divert Not reporting ownership changes No meter or not repairing meters in a timely manner
Drought Restrictions Priority system in place Appropriated water rights in relation to each other Number of diverters and frequency of use in segments Pump ratings of diversion pumps Staggering of diversion times for diverters (dynamic system can be hour to hour) Possible 24 hour surveillance
Making it Work Cooperation and understanding between water right holder, domestic and livestock user and government officials We all have a vested interest in protecting our water
Information Sources TCEQ Water Rights Permitting TCEQ Water Rights Permitting Section (512) 239-4691 TCEQ Home Page http://www.tceq.texas.gov Water Rights Permitting Home Page http://www.tceq.texas.gov/permitting/water_rights.html
Information Sources TCEQ Water Rights Permitting Texas Water Code (Chapter 11) http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/WA/htm/WA.11.htm Texas Administrative Code (Sections 281, 295, 297) http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=3&ti=30&pt=1 Conservation public web page http://www.tceq.texas.gov/response/drought/conservation.html TCEQ Forms http://www.tceq.texas.gov/permitting/water_rights/wr_applications.html
Questions? Esteban (Steve) Ramos TCEQ South Texas / Concho Watermaster 14250 Judson Rd San Antonio, Texas 78233 Phone Number: 210-403-4040 E-mail: email@example.com