Texas Water Rights Commission

By: Laurie E. Jasinski

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: August 1, 1995

The Texas Water Rights Commission was so named in 1965. The agency was originally under the title of the Texas Board of Water Engineers and then renamed the Texas Water Commission in 1962. Numerous functions had been assigned to the commission and its predecessors over the years. The Texas Water Planning Act of 1957, for example, gave the agency the responsibility of preparing and implementing a statewide plan for the development, conservation, and beneficial use of the water resources of Texas. This led to the preparation of a plan for meeting the state's long-range water requirements. The legislature in 1961 added several more functions, including responsibilities relative to the detection, prevention, and elimination of pollution of the waters of the state; the licensing of water well drillers; the inspection during construction of projects of water control and improvement districts; and the functions of the state reclamation engineer. Water agency reorganization acts in 1965 substantially outlined the duties of the various water agencies. Planning functions were transferred to the Texas Water Development Board. The Texas Water Rights Commission was authorized to carry out functions related to the protection of public and private water rights and development. To this end, it administered permit applications, held public hearings on a state water plan, and established different kinds of water districts. The commission had the power to cancel existing water rights when they were not being utilized. It supplied data to the various interstate river compact commissions. The agency was also authorized to prevent excessive and wasteful water use in irrigation systems or water waste from uncapped artesian wells. The commission was composed of three members representing different sections of the state and appointed by the governor. One member served as chairman, and the commission appointed an executive director. The functions of the agency were carried out under five divisions: administrative, legal, technical services, applications, and water rights. In 1972 the commission was authorized over 125 employment positions. In 1977 under the 1977 Water Reorganization Act, the Texas Water Rights Commission was renamed the Texas Water Commission, which then operated within the Texas Department of Water Resources.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Laurie E. Jasinski, “Texas Water Rights Commission,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-water-rights-commission.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995