Water wars, Texas style

Water War. Flickr user azrainman

The century old Rule of Capture in Texas, which says landowners can pump as much water as they want, is being challenged in court. Water wonks are watching this potentially landmark case closely.

Our water laws are a confusing, contradictory mish-mash. In California, water is apportioned carefully and pumping is monitored while in Utah, you buy water rights and if you don’t use your allotment, you can lose it. Every state has their own rules, as do municipalities and water districts. Madness.

  • Informative post!
    Generally, Texas groundwater belongs to the landowner. Groundwater is governed by the rule of capture, which grants landowners the right to capture the water beneath their property. The landowners do not own the water but have a right only to pump and capture whatever water is available, regardless of the effects of that pumping on neighboring wells.

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