Texas drought and watermaster update twca 2014

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Information about Texas drought and watermaster update twca 2014

Published on March 10, 2014

Author: texasnetwork

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Presented by Molly Cagle at the Texas Water Conservation Association Conference in The Woodlands, Texas - March 2014

© 2014 Texas Drought and Watermaster Update Molly Cagle March 5, 2014

2014 LCRA Emergency Order

Look at the watershed above and the Highland Lakes

Key Points  600,000 af storage is 2010 WMP cutoff  100% curtailment for interruptible  20% pro rata curtailment on firm  Cutoff modified in '12 and '13 emergency orders  Should cutoff be modified in 2014?  If so, at what storage capacity should it be lifted?

Historical Trend

Inflows to Highland Lakes Five of the lowest inflow years on record occurred within the last six years.

How did we get here? LCRA applies for Emergency Order Commission considers ED's Order ED issues Emergency Order Exceptions Commission considers Emergency Order Dec. 10, 2013 Jan. 27, 2014 Feb. 12 Hearing on the merits Feb. 17 PFD Feb. 21 Feb. 24 Feb. 26

ED Emergency Order  No interruptible releases now  1.1 trigger on future releases  Automatic renewal if below 1.1 M AF on May 26  Cap on total releases depends upon storage If combined storage is… Interruptible releases up to… < 1.1 M zero ≥ 1.1 M but < 1.2 M 100,000 AF ≥ 1.2 M but < 1.3 M 124,000 AF ≥ 1.3 M but < 1.4 M 148,000 AF ≥ 1.4 M 172,000 AF

How did we get here? LCRA applies for Emergency Order Commission considers ED's Order ED issues Emergency Order Exceptions Commission issues Modified Emergency Order Dec. 10, 2013 Jan. 27, 2014 Feb. 12 Hearing on the merits Feb. 17 PFD Feb. 21 Feb. 24 Feb. 26

Legal Issue  Texas Water Code 11.139  "Emergency conditions exist which present an imminent threat to the public health and safety and which override the necessity to comply with established statutory procedures"  No feasible practicable alternatives to the emergency authorization.  Emergency Order has 120 day life; may be renewed once for not longer than 60 days.  Affirm, modify, or set aside the emergency authorization.

"Imminent threat to public health and safety"  Intake structures already out of water-more soon  Wells already dry  Firefighters unable to access lake water  Urban tree canopy  Concrete foundations  No alternatives

Reality  Concern about hitting 600,000 af -DWDR  Concern about indoor water use restrictions  Comfort zone  Precedent of cap  Precedent generally  Economics and public perception

Future With Irrigation Release

Future Without Irrigation Release

Results ALJ Recommends  No interruptible releases now  1.4 M AF trigger  172,000 AF cap on releases  Automatic renewal TCEQ Adopts  No interruptible releases now  No trigger level  No automatic renewal To be continued…

BRAZOS RIVER WATERMASTER

Brazos River Overview • 840 miles long • 42,620 sq. mi watershed • 19 major reservoirs

Planning Regions G, H, and O

October Snapshot 2000 - 2013

Texas Water Code § 11.027 As Between Appropriators, First in Time, First in Right

Senior Priority Calls  2009  2011  2012  2013

Texas Watermaster Programs

Tex. Water Code § 11.325 - Water Divisions  The commission shall divide the state into water divisions for the purpose of administering adjudicated water rights.  Water divisions may be created from time to time as the necessity arises.  The divisions shall be constituted to secure the best protection to the holders of water rights and the most economical supervision on the part of the state.

Sunset legislation, HB 2694 (2011)  11.326(g) For a water basin in which a watermaster is not appointed, the executive director shall:  (1) evaluate the water basin at least once every five years to determine whether a watermaster should be appointed; and  (2) report the findings and make recommendations to the commission.

Executive Director October 2012 Brazos Basin Recommendation  34 water right holders commented  23 opposed  7 in favor  4 neutral  ED recommendation: Threat to senior water rights would be best articulated by those water rights holders impacted  Invited petition per §11.451

Tex. Water Code §11.451  On petition of 25 or more holders of water rights in a river basin or segment of a river basin or on its own motion the commission may authorize the executive director to appoint a watermaster for a river basin or segment of a river basin if the commission finds that the rights of senior water rights holders in the basin or segment of the basin are threatened.

Tex. Water Code § 11.452  (a) On receiving a petition for appointment of a watermaster or on its own motion, the commission shall call and hold a hearing to determine if a need exists for appointment of a watermaster for the river basin or segment of the river basin.  (b) At the hearing persons who hold water rights in the river basin or segment of the river basin may appear before the commission and submit testimony and evidence relating to the need for appointment of a watermaster.  (c) After the hearing, the commission shall make a written determination as to whether a threat exists to the rights of senior water rights holders in the river basin or segment of the river basin and shall issue an order either finding that a threat exists and directing appointment of a watermaster or denying appointment of a watermaster.

Brazos River Watermaster Hearing  Threat  Need  Appropriate Geographic Scope January 2013 Petition Filed April 2013 Preliminary Hearing February 2013 Petition Considered at Agenda December 2013 Proposal for Decision Sept. 23-26, 2013 Live Hearing April or May ? Agenda

Proponents Hearing Themes  Prior appropriation is the law and it exists to deal with shortages  Recurring periods of shortage and increasing basin demands  Protection of vested property rights  Planning tools assume implementation of prior appropriation  Reactive management to calls or complaints does not negate existence of or sufficiently address threat  Whole basin is hydrologically connected  Watermaster is the tool provided by Legislature to enable data collection and proactive management

Opponents Hearing Themes  Priority Call implementation is sufficient  Drought Tiger Teams  Improvement from 40+ days to goal of less than 10 Days  Limited occurrence  Government intrusiveness  "Upper Basin" is distinct in climate and hydrology and Possum Kingdom is a sufficient divide  Other carve outs

Jurisdictional challenge  Particularly preyed upon by [supporters of the watermaster] were the deceased, the cancer ridden,the demented and elderly and their naïve sullen survivors.  Some Petitioners dropped out

Proposal for Decision  Threat - Clearly exists  Need - Evidence was overwhelming  Geographic scope - Entire Basin is appropriate

Brazos Watermaster Outcome  TCEQ Agenda  Legislature

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