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So... Somervell County Can't Use Brazos Water to Irrigate the Golf Course

30 November 2012 at 8:47:12 PM

Here's the release from TCEQ

Drought conditions are worsening in many parts of the state. As a result, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is informing water-rights holders in the Brazos River Basin that water rights will be administered on a priority basis.

On Nov. 19, 2012, in response to a priority call by Dow Chemical Company on Nov. 14, 2012, the executive director of the TCEQ issued an order and notified certain junior water-right holders in the Brazos River Basin below Possum Kingdom Lake with a priority date of 1942 or later that their right to divert water is immediately suspended. Suspended water rights include those with a priority date of 1942 or later, term, and temporary water-right permits in the Brazos River Basin below Possum Kingdom Lake.

In order to protect public health and welfare, water rights with municipal uses, domestic uses, or for power generation have not been suspended at this time. Land owners with property adjacent to the Brazos River may also continue to divert water for domestic and livestock use as part of their inherent riparian rights. 

These actions are guided by Texas Water Code Section 11.053, 30 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 36, and 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.

The TCEQ has asked that all Brazos River Basin water-right holders continue to take appropriate steps to conserve water, implement their drought contingency plans, and prepare for additional suspensions or curtailments should drought conditions persist. 

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

According to the Glen Rose Reporter, Somervell County commissioners court received a letter about suspending the water for irrigating the Squaw Valley Golf Course immediately.

Earlier this year, in July, , Somervell County was in violation of using water from the state without a permit (expired in 2003. 2003!) Before that it was just up and using water from Squaw Creek to irrigate the golf course. In May, TCEQ told them to cut it out, the county requested an emergency water permit, got one, but that's all gone now due to the new order.. and that crippling drought. However, in July, the county made an agreement, with BRA (Brazos River Authority) and Luminant, to deliver water. The path goes from BRA > Squaw Creek Reservoir> Golf Course. Luminant does have the rights, per that TCEQ order to get water from the Brazos River Basin. One presumes that due to this order Luminant could not longer take water from Squaw Creek and give it to the golf course, since that would be an end run around that order.

Incidentally, makes me extremely glad that KKR/Luminant didn't get the additional two reactors they wanted, since those reactors are heavy water users.


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1 - humanbeing   1 Dec 2012 @ 11:16:32 AM 

It should be illegal to irrigate ANY golfcourse. What a waste of resources. And it wouldn't surprise me if one day in the not-too-distant future, the reactors at Comanche Peak will have to shut down due to insufficient water or water that's too warm, for cooling.

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2 - salon   4 Dec 2012 @ 6:44:54 PM 

With you. Let's see-drinking water for people and animals versus a green golf course. Hmmmmm

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