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Sabine River Compact

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Sabine River Compact
Issue(s): Water apportionment

The Sabine River Compact is an interstate compact.

Text of the compact

The legislature of each member state passes the laws with certain modifications, but the core of the legislation remains the same.

Article I

As used in this Compact:

  • (a) The word "Stateline" means the point on the Sabine River where its waters in downstream flow first touch the States of both Louisiana and Texas.
  • (b) The term "waters of the Sabine River" means the waters either originating in the natural drainage basin of the Sabine River, or appearing as streamflow in said River and its tributaries, from its headwater source down to the mouth of the River where it enters into Sabine Lake.
  • (c) The term "Stateline flow" means the flow of waters of the Sabine River as determined by the Logansport gauge located on the U.S. Highway 84, approximately four (4) river miles downstream from the Stateline. This flow, or the flow as determined by such substitute gauging station as may be established by the Administration, as hereinafter defined, pursuant to the provisions of Article VII of this Compact, shall be deemed the actual Stateline flow.
  • (d) The term "Stateline reach" means that portion of the Sabine River lying between the Stateline and Sabine Lake.
  • (e) The term "the Administration" means the Sabine River Compact Administration established under Article VII.
  • (f) The term "Domestic use" means the use of water by an individual, or by a family unit or household for drinking, cooking, laundering, sanitation and other personal comforts and necessities; and for the irrigation of an area not to exceed one acre, obtained directly from the Sabine River or its tributaries by an individual or family unit, not supplied by a water company, water district or municipality.
  • (g) The term "stock water use" means the use of water for any and all livestock and poultry.
  • (h) The term "consumptive use" means use of water resulting in its permanent removal from the stream.
  • (i) The terms "domestic" and "stock water" reservoir mean any reservoir for either or both of such uses having a storage capacity of fifty (50) acre feet or less.
  • (j) "Stored water" means water stored in reservoirs (exclusive of domestic or stock water reservoirs) or water

withdrawn or released from reservoirs for specific uses and the identifiable return flow from such uses.

  • (k) The term "free water" means all waters other than "stored waters" in the Stateline reach including, but not limited to, that appearing as natural stream flow and not withdrawn or released from a reservoir for specific uses. Waters released from reservoirs for the purpose of maintaining stream flows as provided in Article V, shall be "free water." All reservoir spills or releases of stored waters made in anticipation of spills, shall be free water.
  • (l) Where the name of the State or the term "State" is used in this Compact, it shall be construed to include any person or entity of any nature whatsoever of the States of Louisiana or Texas using, claiming, or in any manner asserting any right to the use of the waters of the Sabine River under the authority of that State.
  • (m) Wherever any State or Federal official or agency is referred to in this Compact, such reference shall apply equally to the comparable official or agency succeeding to their duties and functions.

Article II

Subject to the provisions of Article X, nothing in this Compact shall be construed as applying to, or interfering with, the right or power of either signatory State to regulate within its boundaries the appropriation, use and control of water, not inconsistent with its obligation under this Compact.

Article III

Subject to the provisions of Article X, all rights to any of the waters of the Sabine River which have been obtained in accordance with the laws of the States are hereby recognized and affirmed; provided, however, that withdrawals, from time to time, for the satisfaction of such rights, shall be subject to the availability of supply in accordance with the apportionment of water provided under the terms of this Compact.

Article IV

Texas shall have free and unrestricted use of all waters of the Sabine River and its tributaries above the Stateline subject, however, to the provisions of Articles V and X.

Article V

Texas and Louisiana hereby agree upon the following apportionment of the waters of the Sabine River:

  • (a) All free water in the Stateline reach shall be divided equally between the two States, this division to be made without reference to the origin.
  • (b) The necessity of maintaining a minimum flow at the Stateline for the benefit of water users below the Stateline in both States is recognized, and to this end it is hereby agreed that:
  1. Reservoirs and permits above the Stateline existing as of January 1, 1953 shall not be liable for maintenance

of the flow at the Stateline.

  1. After January 1, 1953, neither State shall permit or authorize any additional uses which would have the effect of

reducing the flow at the Stateline to less than 36 cubic feet per second.

  1. Reservoirs on which construction is commenced

after January 1, 1953, above the Stateline shall be liable for their share of water necessary to provide a minimum flow at the Stateline of 36 cubic feet per second; provided, that no reservoir shall be liable for a greater percentage of this minimum flow than the percentage of the drainage area above the Stateline contributing to that reservoir, exclusive of the watershed of any reservoir on which construction was started prior to January 1, 1953. Water released from Texas' reservoirs to establish the minimum flow of 36 cubic feet per second, shall be classed as free water at the Stateline and divided equally between the two States.

  • (c) The right of each State to construct impoundment reservoirs and other works of improvement on the Sabine River or its tributaries located wholly within its boundaries is hereby recognized.
  • (d) In the event that either State constructs reservoir storage on the tributaries below Stateline after January 1, 1953, there shall be deducted from that State's share of the flow in the Sabine River all reductions in flow resulting from the operation of the tributary storage and conversely such State shall be entitled to the increased flow resulting from the regulation provided by such storage.
  • (e) Each State shall have the right to use the main channel of the Sabine River to convey water stored on the Sabine River or its tributaries located wholly within its boundaries, downstream to a desired point of removal without loss of ownership of such stored waters. In the event that such water is released by a State through the natural channel of a tributary and the channel of the Sabine River to a downstream point of removal, a reduction shall be made in the amount of water which can be withdrawn at the point of removal equal to the transmission losses.
  • (f) Each State shall have the right to withdraw its share of the water from the channel of the Sabine River in the Stateline reach in accordance with Article VII. Neither State shall withdraw at any point more than its share of the flow at that point except, that pursuant to findings and determination of the Administration as provided under Article VII of this Compact, either State may withdraw more or less of its share of the water at any point providing that its aggregate withdrawal shall not exceed its total share. Withdrawals made pursuant to this paragraph shall not prejudice or impair the existing rights of users of Sabine River waters.
  • (g) Waters stored in reservoirs constructed by the States in the Stateline reach shall be shared by each State in proportion to its contribution to the cost of storage. Neither State shall have the right to construct a dam on the Stateline reach without the consent of the other State.
  • (h) Each State may vary the rate and manner of withdrawal of its share of such jointly stored waters on the Stateline reach, subject to meeting the obligations for amortization of the cost of the joint storage. In any event, neither State shall withdraw more than its prorata share in any one year (a year meaning a water year, October 1st to September 30th) except by authority of the Administration. All jointly stored water remaining at the end of a water year shall be reapportioned between the States in the same proportion as their contribution to the cost of the storage.
  • (i) Except for jointly stored water, as provided in (h) above, each State must use its apportionment of the natural stream flows as they occur and there shall be no allowance of accumulation of credits or debits for or against either State. The failure of either State to use the stream flow or any part thereof, the use of which is apportioned to it under the terms of this Compact, shall not constitute a relinquishment of the right to such use in the future; conversely, the failure of either State to use the water at the time it is available does not give it the right to the flow in excess of its share of the flow at any other time.
  • (j) From the apportionment of waters of the Sabine River as defined in this Article, there shall be excluded from such apportionment all waters consumed in either State for domestic and stock water uses. Domestic and stock water reservoirs shall be so excluded.
  • (k) Each State may use its share of the water apportioned to it in any manner that may be deemed beneficial by that State.

Article VI

  • (a) The States through their respective appropriate agencies or subdivisions may construct jointly, or cooperate with

any agency or instrumentality of the United States in the construction of works on the Stateline reach for the development, conservation and utilization for all beneficial purposes of the waters of the Sabine River.

  • (b) All monetary revenues growing out of any joint State ownership, title and interest in works constructed under Section (a) above, and accruing to the States in respect thereof, shall be divided between the States in proportion to their respective contributions to the cost of construction; provided however, that each State shall retain undivided all its revenues from recreational facilities within its boundaries incidental to the use of the waters of the Sabine River, and from its severally State-owned recreational facilities constructed appurtenant thereto.
  • (c) All operation and maintenance costs chargeable against any State ownership, title and interest in works constructed under Section (a) above, shall be assessed in proportion to the contribution of each State to the original cost of construction.

Article VII

  • (a) There is hereby created an interstate administrative agency to be designated as the "Sabine River Compact

Administration" herein referred to as "the Administration."

  • (b) The Administration shall consist of two members from each State and of one member as representative of the United States, chosen by the President of the United States, who is hereby requested to appoint such a representative. The United States member shall be ex-officio chairman of the Administration without vote and shall not be a domiciliary of or reside in either State. The appointed members for Texas and Louisiana shall be designated within thirty days after the effective date of this Compact.
  • (c) The Texas members shall be appointed by the Governor for a term of six years; provided, however, that one of the original Texas members shall be appointed for a term to establish a half-term interval between the expiration dates of the terms of such members, and thereafter one such member shall be appointed each three (3) years for the regular term. The Louisiana members shall be residents of the Sabine Watershed and shall be appointed by the Governor for a term of four years, which shall run concurrent with the term of the Governor. Each state member shall hold office subject to the laws of his state or until his successor has been duly appointed and qualified.
  • (d) Interim vacancy, for whatever cause, in the office of any member of the Administration shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as hereinabove provided for regular appointment.
  • (e) Within sixty days after the effective date of this Compact, the Administration shall meet and organize. A quorum for any meeting shall consist of three voting members of the Administration. Each State member shall have one vote, and every decision, authorization, determination, order or other action shall require the concurring votes of at least three members.
  • (f) The Administration shall have power to:
  1. Adopt, amend and revoke by-laws, rules and regulations, and prescribe procedures for administration of and consistent with the provisions of this Compact;
  2. Fix and determine from time to time the location of the Administration's principal office;
  3. Employ such engineering, legal, clerical and other personnel, without regard to the civil service laws of either State, as the Administration may determine necessary or proper to supplement State-furnished assistance as hereinafter provided, for the performance of its functions under this Compact; provided, that such employees shall be paid by and be responsible to the Administration and shall not be considered to be employees of either State;
  4. Procure such equipment, supplies and technical assistance as the Administration may determine to be necessary or proper to supplement State-furnished assistance as hereinafter provided, for the performance of its functions under this Compact;
  5. Adopt a seal which shall be judicially recognized.
  • (g) In cooperation with the chief official administering water rights in each State and with appropriate Federal agencies, the Administration shall have and perform powers and duties as follows:
  1. To collect, analyze, correlate, compile and report on data as to water supplies, stream flows, storage, diversions,

salvage and use of the waters of the Sabine River and its tributaries, and as to all factual data necessary or proper for the administration of this Compact;

  1. To designate as official stations for the administration of this Compact such existing water gauging stations (and to operate, maintain, repair and abandon the same), and to locate, establish, construct, operate, maintain, repair and

abandon additional such stations, as the Administration may from time to time find and determine necessary or appropriate;

  1. To make findings as to the deliveries of water at Stateline as hereinabove provided, from the stream-flow records of

the Stateline gauge which shall be operated and maintained by the Administration or in cooperation with the appropriate Federal agency, for determination of the actual Stateline flow unless the Administration shall find and determine that, because of changed physical conditions or for any other reason, reliable records are not obtainable thereat; in which case such existing Stateline station may with the approval of the Administration be abandoned and, with such approval, a substitute Stateline station established in lieu thereof;

  1. To make findings as to the quantities of reservoir storage (including joint storage) and releases therefrom,

diversions, transmission losses and as to incident stream-flow changes, and as to the share of such quantities chargeable against or allocable to the respective States;

  1. To record and approve all points of diversion at which water is to be removed from the Sabine River or its

tributaries below the Stateline; provided that, in any case, the State agency charged with the administration of the water laws for the State in which such point of diversion is located shall first have approved such point for removal or diversion; provided further, that any such point of removal or diversion once jointly approved by the appropriate State agency and the Administration, shall not thereafter be changed without the joint amendatory approval of such State agency and the Administration;

  1. To require water users at their expense to install and maintain measuring devices of approved type in any ditch,

pumping station or other water diversion works on the Sabine River or its tributaries below the Stateline, as the Administration may determine necessary or proper for the purposes of this Compact; provided that the chief official of each State charged with the administration of water rights therein shall supervise the execution and enforcement of the Administration's requirements for such measuring devices;

  1. To investigate any violation of this Compact and to report findings and recommendations thereon to the chief official of the affected State charged with the administration of water rights, or to the Governor of such State as the Administration may deem proper;
  2. To acquire, hold, occupy and utilize such personal and real property as may be necessary or proper for the performance

of its duties and functions under this Compact;

  1. To perform all functions required of the Administration by this Compact, and to do all things necessary, proper or convenient in the performance of its duties hereunder.
  • (h) Each State shall provide such available facilities, supplies, equipment, technical information and other assistance as the Administration may require to carry out its duties and function, and the execution and enforcement of the Administration's orders shall be the responsibility of the agents and officials of the respective States charged with the administration of water rights therein. State officials shall furnish pertinent factual and technical data to the Administration upon its request.
  • (i) Findings of fact made by the Administration shall not be conclusive in any court or before any agency or tribunal but shall constitute prima facie evidence of such facts.
  • (j) In the case of a tie vote on any of the Administration's determinations, orders or other actions subject to arbitration, then arbitration shall be a condition precedent to any right of legal action. Either side of a tie vote may, upon request, submit the question to arbitration. If there shall be arbitration, there shall be three arbitrators: one named in writing by each side, and the third chosen by the two arbitrators so elected. If the arbitrators fail to select a third within ten days, then he shall be chosen by the Representative of the United States.
  • (k) The salaries, if any, and the personal expenses of each member of the Administration, shall be paid by the Government which he represents. All other expenses incident to the administration of this Compact and which are not paid by the United States shall be borne equally by the States. Ninety days prior to the Regular Session of the Legislature of either State, the Administration shall adopt and transmit to the Governor of such State for his

approval, its budget covering anticipated expenses for the forthcoming biennium and the amount thereof payable by such State. Upon approval by its Governor, each State shall appropriate and pay the amount due by it to the Administration. The Administration shall keep accurate accounts of all receipts and disbursements and shall include a statement thereof, together with a certificate of audit by a certified public accountant, in its annual report. Each State shall have the right to make an examination and audit of the accounts of the Administration at any time.

  • (l) The Administration shall, whenever requested, provide access to its records by the Governor of either State or by the chief official of either State charged therein with the administration of water rights. The Administration shall annually on or before January 15th of each year make and transmit to the Governors of the signatory States, and to the President of the United States, a report of the Administration's activities and deliberations for the preceding year.

Article VIII

  • (a) This Compact shall become effective when ratified by the Legislature and approved by the Governors of both States and when approved by the Congress of the United States.
  • (b) The provisions of this Compact shall remain in full force and effect until modified, altered or amended, or in the same manner as hereinabove required for ratification thereof. The right so to modify, alter or amend this Compact is expressly reserved. This Compact may be terminated at any time by mutual consent of the signatory States. In the event this Compact is terminated as herein provided, all rights then vested hereunder shall continue

unimpaired.

  • (c) Should a court of competent jurisdiction hold any part of this Compact to be contrary to the constitution of any signatory State or of the United States of America, all other severable provisions of this Compact shall continue in full force and effect.

Article IX

This Compact is made and entered into for the sole purpose of effecting an equitable apportionment and providing beneficial uses of the waters of the Sabine River, its tributaries and its watershed, without regard to the boundary between Louisiana and Texas, and nothing herein contained shall be construed as an admission on the part of either State or any agency, commission, department or subdivision thereof, respecting the location of said boundary; and neither this Compact nor any data compiled for the preparation or administration thereof shall be offered, admitted or considered in evidence, in any dispute, controversy, or litigation bearing upon the matter of the location of said boundary.

The term "Stateline" as defined in this Compact shall not be construed to define the actual boundary between the State of Texas and the State of Louisiana.

Article X

Nothing in this Compact shall be construed as affecting, in any manner, any present or future rights or powers of the United States, its agencies, or instrumentalities in, to and over the waters of the Sabine River Basin.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Representatives have executed this Compact in three counterparts hereof, each of which shall be and constitute an original, one of which shall be forwarded to the Administrator, General Services Administration of the United States of America and one of which shall be forwarded to the Governor of each State.

See also

External links

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References


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