From the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)

News Release
TCEQ eases restrictions on water rights
Neches River Basin affected

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Contact:  Andrea Morrow
Phone:  512-239-5011  
Pager:  512-896-3727

Conditions have improved to the point where the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality notified all junior water-right holders in the Neches River Basin that their right to divert water is no longer suspended.

In November, 2011 the TCEQ responded to a senior priority call in the Neches River Basin by notifying certain junior water-right holders that their right to divert was suspended. The senior priority call has now been rescinded and the previously suspended water right holders can divert water again.

The TCEQ continues to monitor the situation closely and strives to balance protection of senior and superior surface water rights while attempting to minimize the impact to junior water-right holders, within TCEQ’s authority. Please note that should another priority call be made or should drought conditions persist or worsen, suspensions of junior water rights may again be necessary.

These actions are guided by the priority doctrine in Texas law. The most senior water rights are served first during times of drought with domestic and livestock uses superior to any appropriated rights. Water rights are suspended or curtailed by priority date, with the most recently issued – or “junior” – priority users suspended before senior water rights in the area.

Drought conditions continue to be widespread across the state. The TCEQ has asked that all Neches River water-right holders take steps to conserve water, implement their drought contingency plans, and prepare for possible suspensions or curtailments should drought conditions persist. 

Water is a precious resource – all Texans are encouraged to conserve, especially during times of drought.