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RULE §86.12Prehearing Procedures

(a) Initiation of adjudication. The water rights in any stream or segment may be adjudicated as provided in Texas Water Code, §11.304:

  (1) on motion of the commission;

  (2) on petition to the commission signed by ten or more claimants of water rights from the source of supply; or

  (3) on petition of the Texas Water Development Board.

(b) Investigation and preparation of investigation report. Promptly after an adjudication is initiated under Texas Water Code, §11.304, the commission shall investigate the facts and conditions necessary to determine whether the adjudication would be in the public interest.

  (1) If the commission finds that an adjudication would be in the public interest, it shall enter an order to that effect, designating the stream or segment to be adjudicated and directing the executive director to investigate the area involved to gather relevant data and information essential to the proper understanding of the claimed water rights involved. The results of the investigation shall be reduced to a written report and made a matter of record in the commission's office. This report shall be available for public inspection during regular business hours of the commission at its offices in Austin.

  (2) In connection with the investigation, the executive director shall have a map or plat made showing, with substantial accuracy, the course of the stream or segment, and the location of reservoirs and diversion works and places of use, including irrigated lands which are relevant to the alleged water rights involved.

(c) Notice of adjudication. The commission shall prepare a notice of adjudication describing the stream or segment to be adjudicated and the date by which all claims of water rights in the stream or segment must be filed with the commission under Texas Water Code, §11.307.

  (1) The notice shall be published once a week for two consecutive weeks in one or more newspapers having general circulation in the counties in which the stream or segment is located.

  (2) The notice shall be sent by first-class mail to all persons on the mailing list.

  (3) The notice required under Texas Water Code, §11.308 may be incorporated with the notice required by this rule and Texas Water Code, §11.306.

(d) Filing of claims. Every person claiming a water right of any nature, except for domestic and livestock purposes, from the stream or segment under adjudication, shall file a sworn claim under Texas Water Code, §11.307 within the time prescribed in the notice of adjudication or any extension.

  (1) Sworn claims should state:

    (A) the name and mailing address of the claimant;

    (B) the nature of the right claimed, including the number of any permit, certified filing or claim filed under Texas Water Code, §11.303;

    (C) the maximum acre-feet of water claimed;

    (D) the purpose of use claimed;

    (E) the date of first diversion of state water for other than domestic or livestock purposes;

    (F) the earliest priority date claimed;

    (G) the source of water;

    (H) a description of diversion works;

    (I) the maximum total diversion rate claimed;

    (J) a description of impounding facilities, including the location, whether it is on-channel or off-channel, and the impounding capacity, surface area, and average depth at normal maximum operating level;

    (K) the maximum number of acres per year if an irrigation right is claimed; and

    (L) all other information necessary to show the nature and extent of the claim.

  (2) The commission shall prescribe forms for claims filed under this rule, but use of commission forms is not mandatory.

  (3) The commission may extend the time for filing claims under this rule and Texas Water Code, §11.307 and may accept a claim filed beyond the deadline or any such extension.

  (4) All water rights claimants, except users of water for domestic or livestock purposes, shall file a sworn statement of the claim of right with the commission. Failure to file a sworn statement under this provision in accordance with the commission's notice of adjudication bars the recognition of any right in the claimant.

(e) Notice of hearings. The commission shall set a time and place for hearing of all claims in the stream or segment being adjudicated.

  (1) The commission shall give 30 day's notice of the commencement of the hearings by certified mail to all persons on the mailing list as described in paragraphs (2)-(4) of this subsection. This notice may be included in the notice of adjudication provided for in Texas Water Code, §11.306.

  (2) The commission shall schedule individual evidentiary hearings for each diverter of state water within the segment being adjudicated who can be ascertained from the records of the commission or from the executive director's investigation. The commission shall give notice by first-class mail to all other persons on the mailing list.

  (3) A final docket of hearings will be scheduled as necessary for individual claims that were continued during the regularly scheduled hearings. Notice of the date, time, and place of these hearings will be mailed by certified mail to each person appearing on the docket and by first-class mail to all other persons on the mailing list.

  (4) The commission may continue hearings from time to time and place to place. At the time of continuation, the commission shall state on the record the date, time, and place of the subsequent hearing. If unknown at the time of continuation, the commission shall give notice of the date, time, and place of the subsequent hearing to all parties on the mailing list.

Source Note: The provisions of this §86.12 adopted to be effective June 6, 1996, 21 TexReg 4780.

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