You Can’t Squeeze Water From a Stone, But Soon, We May Have to Try: A Scratch at the Surface of Texas Groundwater Law and How Antiquated Common Law Could Leave us all High and Dry

The story of Texas water law is also the story of its droughts. Texas’s application of the rule of capture and landowners’ absolute ownership of groundwater is outdated and unsustainable. As Texas’s population expands, so will its thirst, and groundwater is not an inexhaustible natural resource. If drought conditions and population increases continue—as they are predicted to do —the non-sustainable means in which groundwater is regulated will have dire consequences in the years to come. Already evidenced in areas such as Matagorda Bay, where a natural resource on which the whole population depends is controlled by a few landowners, greed and consumption will prevail over the good of the community. It’s an inconvenient truth, but it’s our reality.

Photo Credit: US Dept. of Agriculture; Flickr