. Authored by Josiah Neeley, TPPF’s Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment policy analyst, this report reviews Texas’ interbasin water transfers and the laws inhibiting the practice.
“Texas’ prior appropriation system for water operates under the principle of ‘first in time, first in right,’ meaning that older or ‘senior’ rights are given precedence over newer or ‘junior’ rights in cases of conflict,” said Neeley, “For this reason, senior water rights tend to be more valuable than junior rights, and draw a higher price on the market.”
Neeley continues, “Texas needs to ensure that basins of origin are adequately protected against any negative effects of interbasin transfers. The current system does not do that. Multiple exemptions mean that simply blocking interbasin transfers could potentially result in water leaving a basin through other methods. Burdensome restrictions on the permitting process, including the junior rights provision, discourage interbasin transfers regardless of any harm to the basin of origin.”