Water Resource Management on the Texas High Plains: Controlled Chaos or a Model of Efficiency?

by Lloyd V. Urban, Texas Tech Univ, Lubbock, United States,
Otis W. Templer, Texas Tech Univ, Lubbock, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Management of Irrigation and Drainage Systems: Integrated Perspectives


Rarely is a region's social and economic well-being more closely tied to a particular resource than on the semi-arid Texas High Plains, where the water supply is variable, often limited and sometimes dwindling. The institutional framework for allocating existing water supplies in vitally important in the development and management of water resources and can serve as an absolute constraint on efficient management and utilization of water resources, as well as the land to which the water is applied. Management of the limited water resources of the Texas High Plains is governed by separate, complex, and uncoordinated bodies of law which have evolved to control the allocation, use, and protection of several recognized legal classes of underground and surface water. An equally diverse and complex set of water resource management institutions has evolved to administer these laws and assist in water resource development and regulation, including local districts, regional authorities, and several state and federal agencies. In this paper, the authors, a civil engineer and a geographer-lawyer, explore the effectiveness of the current management situation by examining representative institutions and agencies, their programs and objectives,and their contribution toward to goal of achieving and effective, coordinated water resources management system for the Texas High Plains.

Subject Headings: Water resources | Resource management | Hydrologic models | Water conservation | Systems management | Arid lands | Social factors | Economic factors | Texas | United States

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