WOOD COUNTY — An East Texas water permit holder invoked its senior status and prompted state environmental regulators to halt water use by six Sabine River water rights holders including Wood County.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality declared that ongoing drought prompted it to suspend the water rights of entities holding permits issued since 1903.
The declaration does not apply to water use by municipalities or for power generation. It was issued on Jan. 4 in response to a letter from the Little Sandy Hunting and Fishing Club.
Texas water law gives priority to older water rights. So-called senior water rights holders get first call on the resource in drought.
The club, which issued its senior call on Nov. 30, hunts the Little Sandy National Wildlife Refuge in southern Wood County. The same group of conservationists convinced Congress in the 1980s to establish the wildlife refuge, ending local efforts to build Waters Bluff Reservoir along the Sabine River.