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Texas House Formalizes Water Rights

Photo by KUT

The Texas House has given its approval to a bill that formalizes landowner’s full ownership of groundwater below their land.

Property rights advocates had pushed for the bill, which allows landowners to pump and sell groundwater, though the state would still be able to impose some restrictions.

Texas is one of the few states that still gives landowners control over the water underneath their property.

The Sierra Club issued a statement about the bill today, saying it raises more questions than it answers:

Ultimately a landowner can’t build a fence around a natural resource such as groundwater. It’s a shared resource even if a landowner has certain rights to the use of that resource. Those are realities that no piece of legislation can change. We will ignore those realities at our peril.

Opponents say groundwater should be regulated like other state resources, like rivers. 

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.