"Texans Look Beneath the Surface for Water"

"From farmers to the oil and gas industry to gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Greg Abbott, Texans are looking beneath their land to make up the state’s growing water deficit."

"Unlike surface water, which is owned and allocated by the state, groundwater belongs to the landowner and is regulated by nearly 100 different conservation districts across Texas, all of which set their own rules. The recent drought, along with major court decisions, has led to what some say is the most uncertain time in state history for those who depend on and manage groundwater in Texas.

Property rights advocates have lauded recent court rulings affirming Texans’ ownership of water under their land after some water districts attempted to limit pumping in hopes of conserving precious remaining groundwater. But managers of water conservation districts fear that if courts continue to restrict their ability to regulate groundwater use, there may soon be no water left to pump."

Neena Satija reports for the Texas Tribune November 19, 2013 in the first part of a five-part series.

Source: Texas Tribune, 11/20/2013