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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In 1986, the city of Marshall received a certificate of adjudication recognizing a right to divert and use up to 16,000 acre-feet of water from Cypress Creek for municipal use, meaning that the water it supplied had to be potable. In 2001, the city applied to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to change the purpose of use in its certificate so that it could supply untreated water for industrial use. The city’s application did not request a change in the amount of water or rate of diversion. The city of Uncertain and others opposed the application, alleging the amendment would have serious adverse environmental and socio-economic consequences, and sought a contested-case hearing. The commission concluded that �11.122(b) of the Texas Water Code mandated approval of the amendment without a contested-case hearing. HOLDING:Affirmed in part and remanded to the commission for further proceedings. Section 11.122(b)’s predicate clause requires that an amendment application meet “all other applicable requirements of this chapter for the approval of an application.” All other requirements of the chapter can only mean those that do not concern �11.122(b)’s specific criteria, i.e., assessment of “adverse impact on other water right holders or the environment on the stream.” Those requirements are described in �11.134(b). Looking to that section, the court finds that the “other applicable requirements” that do not implicate effects on other water-rights holders or the on-stream environment concern conformance with administrative requirements, beneficial use of the water right, protection of the public welfare, groundwater effects, consistency with the state and any applicable regional water plan, avoidance of waste, and achievement of water conservation. The court interprets �11.122(b) to require the commission to assess specified criteria other than impacts on other water-rights holders and the on-stream environment when considering a proposed water-rights amendment. Marshall has a specifically defined right to fully use the amount of water identified in its permit, but it has no right to use that water other than as conditioned. The Legislature has determined that the commission must approve alterations in water rights like the change in purpose of use that Marshall seeks in its amendment. If removal of the potability restriction from Marshall’s permit would adversely impact the limited public-interest criteria that the Legislature carved out of �11.122(b), then holding a contested-case hearing to determine those specific effects comports with the Legislature’s overall purpose to protect this valuable resource. On the other hand, if it is apparent from the application that those limited public-interest criteria are not adversely impacted, then no hearing on the application would be required. However, the court emphasizes that in evaluating an amendment application seeking a change in use, the commission must focus on the impacts that are inherent in the type of use that is proposed, and not on the fact that the applicant may fully use its permitted water right. Uncertain claims that assessing Marshall’s proposed amendment as it relates to these effects involves a factual determination upon which a contested-case hearing must be afforded. The court cannot tell from the record whether Uncertain claims that other water rights or the on-stream environment would be adversely affected beyond or irrespective of Marshall’s full use of the permitted right. If that determination can be made from the face of the application, then notice and hearing would not be required as to those elements; if it cannot, then a limited hearing would be necessary to assess those effects. The same is true for the other applicable requirements. OPINION:O’Neill, J., delivered the court’s opinion.

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