Texas Ground Water Law

by Martin Wilson, Texas Water Commission, Austin, TX, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Development and Management Aspects of Irrigation and Drainage Systems


Groundwater in Texas is generally considered the property of the surface owner, subject to the rule of capture. This English common law standard was developed at a time when the movement of groundwater was considered 'secret, occult, and concealed. ' Surface water is generally a resource of the state, subject to an extensive scheme of appropriation and regulation. The issue facing Texas is the development of an alternative, and complementary, scheme of regulation of groundwater which is both adequate to deal with such problems as contamination and subsidence and sensitive to traditional ownership rights. Texas' primary instrument of regulation of groundwater is the underground water conservation district. The state will be subject to increasing pressure to regulate effectively.

Subject Headings: Groundwater | Water resources | Water rights | Water supply | Surface properties | Surface water | Groundwater pollution | Water conservation | Texas | United States

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