Population Growth Puts Pressure On Texas' Water Sources

Nov 11, 2016

The legal challenges that come with private property rights and Texas’ growing need for water were the topic of the most recent Texas Water Symposium, held on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

Texas expected to double in population growth over the next 40-50 years, with most of the growth in cities, said Dr. Jay Banner in opening remarks before the panel. “Where will all these people—twice as many people as there currently are—get the water that they need?” he asked, noting the historic drought conditions the state has also endured.

The panel’s moderator, Suzanne Schwartz, offered additional background, pointing out the fact that Texas owns the surface water of the state, but groundwater is privately owned. That has a lot of consequences, she said, including issues of private property rights against uncompensated takings.

Credit Nathan Cone / TPR

Listen to the below audio for:

  • The differences between resources like oil & gas, and water
  • Whether Texas will be able to meet its water needs for the future
  • How water will be paid for in the future: “We absolutely are not paying the true value of water.” --Amy Hardberger
  • How the legislature needs to act in 2017: “We can’t keep chipping away at little pieces and parcels.”

Panelists:

 Moderator: Suzanne Schwartz, UT School of Law