Keeping Streams Flowing: In-stream flow issues involve water development, the environment, and even snakes and dinosaur tracks.
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In-stream flow issues will continue to be an important issue in Texas as the needs for developing water supplies and protecting the environment increase. There are opportunities to reach compromise solutions that protect both interests. Certainly, working together seems more appropriate than needless, expensive legal delays and administrative hearings. From a research perspective, techniques for determining in-stream flows must be further refined so that the agencies and scientists developing in-stream flow needs arrive at more comparable results. The idea that vastly different results can be obtained from professionals using similar techniques and databases is disturbing. Finally, consideration should be given to more clearly defining in-stream water rights in Texas. There now exists a situation where various agencies have conflicting agendas on this issue. Some focus on preserving existing water rights, but do not consider in-stream flow needs. Others focus on in-stream flow needs, but do not take into account the concerns of water rights holders. A middle ground needs to be reached.