by Josiah Neeley
Texas Public Policy Foundation
May 08, 2014
Interbasin transfers of surface water are one of the key stragies to ensure that Texas can meet future demand. Texas surface water rights operate under the “prior appropriation doctrine” where older water rights are more “senior” and hence less likely to be curtailed in a time of shortage. Since 1997, Texas’ so-called “junior rights” provision strips water rights of their seniority if they are involved in interbasin transfer. As a result, since 1997, almost no new interbasin transfers subject to the junior rights provision have been permitted. The Texas Legislature should repeal the junior water rights provision to ensure both that valuable transfers can go through and that the rights of all parties are respected.



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