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RULE §297.1Definitions

  (39) Pollution--The alteration of the physical, thermal, chemical, or biological quality of, or the contamination of any water in the state that renders the water harmful or detrimental to humans, animal life, vegetation, or property, or the public health, safety or welfare, or impairs the usefulness of the public enjoyment of the waters for any lawful or reasonable purpose.

  (40) Priority--As between appropriators, the first in time is the first in right, Texas Water Code, §11.027, unless determined otherwise by an appropriate court or state law.

  (41) Reclaimed water--Municipal or industrial wastewater or process water that is under the direct control of the treatment plant owner/operator, or agricultural tailwater that has been collected for reuse, and which has been treated to a quality suitable for the authorized beneficial use.

  (42) Recreational use--The use of water impounded in or diverted or released from a reservoir or watercourse for fishing, swimming, water skiing, boating, hunting, and other forms of water recreation, including aquatic and wildlife enjoyment, and aesthetic land enhancement of a subdivision, golf course, or similar development.

  (43) Register--The Texas Register.

  (44) Reservoir system operations--The coordinated operation of more than one reservoir or a reservoir in combination with a direct diversion facility in order to optimize available water supplies.

  (45) Return water or return flow--That portion of state water diverted from a water supply and beneficially used which is not consumed as a consequence of that use and returns to a watercourse. Return flow includes sewage effluent.

  (46) Reuse--The authorized use for one or more beneficial purposes of use of water that remains unconsumed after the water is used for the original purpose of use and before that water is either disposed of or discharged or otherwise allowed to flow into a watercourse, lake, or other body of state-owned water.

  (47) River basin--A river or coastal basin designated by the Texas Water Development Board as a river basin under Texas Water Code, §16.051. The term does not include waters originating in bays or arms of the Gulf of Mexico.

  (48) Runoff--That portion of streamflow comprised of surface drainage or rainwater from land or other surfaces during or immediately following a rainfall.

  (49) Secondary use--The reuse of state water for a purpose after the original, authorized use.

  (50) Sewage or sewage effluent--Water-carried human or animal wastes from residences, buildings, industrial establishments, cities, towns, or other places, together with any groundwater infiltration and surface waters with which it may be commingled.

  (51) Spreader dam--A levee-type embankment placed on alluvial fans or within a flood plain of a watercourse, common to land use practices, for the purpose of overland spreading of diffused waters and overbank flows.

  (52) State water--The water of the ordinary flow, underflow, and tides of every flowing river, natural stream, and lake, and of every bay or arm of the Gulf of Mexico, and the stormwater, floodwater, and rainwater of every river, natural stream, and watercourse in the state. State water also includes water which is imported from any source outside the boundaries of the state for use in the state and which is transported through the beds and banks of any navigable stream within the state or by utilizing any facilities owned or operated by the state. State water does not include percolating groundwater; nor does it include diffuse surface rainfall runoff, groundwater seepage, or springwater before it reaches a watercourse.

  (53) Stormwater or floodwater--Water flowing in a watercourse as the result of recent rainfall.

  (54) Streamflow--The water flowing within a watercourse.

  (55) Surplus water--Water taken from any source in excess of the initial or continued beneficial use of the appropriator for the purpose or purposes authorized by law. Water that is recirculated within a reservoir for cooling purposes shall not be considered to be surplus water.

  (56) Unappropriated water--The amount of state water remaining in a watercourse or other source of supply after taking into account complete satisfaction of all existing water rights valued at their full authorized amounts and conditions.

  (57) Underflow of a stream--Water in sand, soil, and gravel below the bed of the watercourse, together with the water in the lateral extensions of the water-bearing material on each side of the surface channel, such that the surface flows are in contact with the subsurface flows, the latter flows being confined within a space reasonably defined and having a direction corresponding to that of the surface flow.

  (58) Waste--The diversion of water if the water is not used for a beneficial purpose; the use of that amount of water in excess of that which is economically reasonable for an authorized purpose when reasonable intelligence and reasonable diligence are used in applying the water to that purpose. Waste may include, but not be limited to, the unreasonable loss of water through faulty design or negligent operation of a water delivery, distribution or application system, or the diversion or use of water in any manner that causes or threatens to cause pollution of water. Waste does not include the beneficial use of water where the water may become polluted because of the nature of its use, such as domestic or residential use, but is subsequently treated in accordance with all applicable rules and standards prior to its discharge into or adjacent to water in the state so that it may be subsequently beneficially used.

  (59) Water conservation plan--A strategy or combination of strategies for reducing the volume of water withdrawn from a water supply source, for preventing or reducing the loss or waste of water, for maintaining or improving the efficiency in the use of water, for increasing the recycling and reuse of water, and for preventing the pollution of water. A water conservation plan may be a separate planning document or may be contained within another water management document(s).

  (60) Water in the state--Groundwater, percolating or otherwise, lakes, bays, ponds, impounding reservoirs, springs, rivers, streams, creeks, estuaries, marshes, inlets, canals, the Gulf of Mexico inside the territorial limits of the state, and all other bodies of surface water, natural or artificial, inland or coastal, fresh or salt, navigable or nonnavigable, and including the beds and banks of all watercourses and bodies of surface water, that are wholly or partially inside or bordering the state or inside the jurisdiction of the state.

  (61) Watercourse--A definite channel of a stream in which water flows within a defined bed and banks, originating from a definite source or sources. (The water may flow continuously or intermittently, and if the latter with some degree of regularity, depending on the characteristics of the sources.)

  (62) Water right--A right or any amendment thereto acquired under the laws of this state to impound, divert, store, convey, take, or use state water.

  (63) Watershed--A term used to designate the area drained by a stream and its tributaries, or the drainage area upstream from a specified point on a stream.

  (64) Water supply--Any body of water, whether static or moving, either on or under the surface of the ground, available for beneficial use on a reasonably dependable basis.

  (65) Wetland--An area (including a swamp, marsh, bog, prairie pothole, playa, or similar area) having a predominance of hydric soils that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support and that under normal circumstances supports the growth and regeneration of hydrophytic vegetation. The term "hydric soil" means soil that, in its undrained condition is saturated, flooded, or ponded long enough during a growing season to develop an anaerobic condition that supports the growth and regeneration of hydrophytic vegetation. The term "hydrophytic vegetation" means a plant growing in water or a substrate that is at least periodically deficient in oxygen during a growing season as a result of excessive water content. The term "wetland" does not include:

    (A) irrigated acreage used as farmland;

    (B) man-made wetlands of less than one acre; or

    (C) man-made wetlands not constructed with wetland creation as a stated objective, including, but not limited to, impoundments made for the purpose of soil and water conservation which have been approved or requested by soil and water conservation districts. This definition does not apply to man-made wetlands described under this subparagraph constructed or created on or after August 28, 1989. If this definition conflicts with the federal definition in any manner, the federal definition prevails.

Source Note: The provisions of this §297.1 adopted to be effective May 29, 1986, 11 TexReg 2327; amended to be effective December 16, 1987, 12 TexReg 4531; amended to be effective June 25, 1990, 15 TexReg 3415; amended to be effective May 3, 1993, 18 TexReg 2558; amended to be effective June 28, 1996, 21 TexReg 5442; amended to be effective January 10, 1997, 22 TexReg 57; amended to be effective February 24, 1999, 24 TexReg 1162; amended to be effective August 15, 2002, 27 TexReg 7152; amended to be effective August 30, 2012, 37 TexReg 6627; amended to be effective July 11, 2013, 38 TexReg 4377; amended to be effective May 19, 2016, 41 TexReg 3511;amended to be effective May 28, 2020, 45 TexReg 3452

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