This week, Texas water law has been prominently in the national news. NBC published a story called “The Last Drop: America’s Breadbasket Faces Dire Water Crisis.” [Read article here.]
This article discussed the prolonged drought in the Texas Panhandle and the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer. The article outlines numerous causes of the water crisis, including drought, population growth, agricultural irrigation, and Texas water law.
The article accurately explains Texas groundwater law, governed by the right of capture, which provides that a landowner owns the groundwater beneath his property. Importantly, as discussed previously on this blog, there are important limitations to this right including common law principles and the authority of Groundwater Conservation Districts in much of the state. Although the article glossed over these limitations, they are critical for Texas landowners and producers to understand.
Finally, I appreciated the article’s realization of the value of an agricultural livelihood and community as well as the need for Texas producers to help feed and clothe the world.