Implementing SB 3, Adopting Environmental Flows in Texas

The Water Code directs the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), after considering the stakeholder committees’ recommendations, to adopt environmental flow standards “adequate to support a sound ecological environment, to the maximum extent reasonable considering other public interests and other relevant factors.” This paper summarizes the environmental flow standard and strategy recommendations made by the six stakeholder committees that submitted reports to the TCEQ at the time of this paper and compares these to the standards the TCEQ ultimately adopted. The adopted standards only apply to permits seeking a new appropriation of water or to an amendment to an existing water right that increases the amount of water authorized to be stored, taken, or diverted.

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