History of the Study Commission on Water for Environmental Flows (2003 -
2004) and the Environmental Flows Advisory Committee (2006)
In 2003, Senate Bill 1639 established the Study
Commission on Water for Environmental Flows. The Commission was charged to provide
recommendations to the next regular session of the legislature on how to ensure
protection for environmental flows in the water permitting process. The bill
also placed a two-year moratorium on the issuance by the Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality of new surface water permits for protection of
In 2004, the Study Commission issued the Joint
Committee’s Interim Report to the 79th Legislature, December 2004,
which became the basis for the environmental flows provisions in Senate Bill 3
(2005), an omnibus water bill. Those provisions gained a lot of support on both
sides of the aisle during the 2005 legislative session but the bill ultimately
ran out of time in the House.
In 2005, Executive Order RP50 established the Environmental Flows Advisory Committee which
provided recommendations to the 80th regular session of the legislature (2007)
on how the legislature might create a consensus-based, regional approach to
integrate environmental flow protection with flows for human needs. The executive
order explicitly stated that the Advisory Committee use the Study Commission's
December 2004 report as a starting point. The committee’s final report
was provided to the legislators in 2007.
The Committee’s report, which remained true to the environmental flow provisions contained in the failed
Senate Bill 3 (2005), provided the basis for the recently passed environmental
flows provisions in Senate Bill 3 (2007).