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Water Law - Texas

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is the agency charged with overseeing Texas' water resources. As a result, most of Texas' water law regulations are found in Title 30 of the Texas Administrative Code (TAC). A few chapters of particular interest are listed below. For a complete list of chapters, browse the Title 30 Table of Contents here.

Below is a selected list of regulatory publications by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. For a complete list of publications, go to the agency's publications page.

Texas Water Development Board

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is charged with providing "leadership, information, education, and support for planning, financial assistance, and outreach for the conservation and responsible development of water for Texas." The Board's administrative regulations are located in 31 TAC Part 10.

The Board's most important publication is the Texas State Water Plan. "Based on 16 regional water plans, the plan addresses the needs of all water user groups in the state – municipal, irrigation, manufacturing, livestock, mining, and steam-electric power – during a repeat of the drought of record that the state suffered in the 1950s. At the end of each five-year regional water planning cycle, agency staff compiles information from the approved regional water plans and other sources to develop the state water plan."

Other Texas Regulatory Documents

Preserving and Improving Water Quality: Programs of the TCEQ for Managing the Quality of Surface Waters, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, 2010

Texas Water Resources Regulation, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)

Texas River Guide, Texas State Parks & Wildlife Department

Special Districts

Texas uses local governmental bodies, called special districts, to handle many local utility and infrastructure needs, including water. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, "A water district is a local, governmental entity that provides limited services to its customers and residents. Examples of water districts include municipal utility districts, water control and improvement districts, special utility districts, and river authorities. The TCEQ is responsible for general supervision and oversight of water districts." For more, see the TCEQ publication Texas Water Districts: a General Guide. Other types of special districts with water-related missions, such as irrigation districts and flood control districts, are listed in Title 6 of the Texas Special Districts and Local Laws Code.

Resources on Texas Water and Groundwater Districts

Administrative Boundaries Maps, Texas Water Development Board (includes maps of special districts and river authorities)

Texas Water Code Title 4, General Law Districts (link is to chapter 49; Title 4 encompasses chapters 49 through 68)

Texas Water District Database, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Texas Water Districts: A General Guide, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, 2004

Water Districts, 30 Texas Administrative Code ch. 293

Priority Groundwater Management Areas and Groundwater Conservation Districts: Report to the 84th Legislature, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, 2015

Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts (includes the Groundwater Conservation District Index, a database of information about all Texas groundwater districts)

Kathy Wythe, Texas Groundwater Administration, Texas Water Resources Institute, 2014