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FACTS ABOUT WATER – TEXAS
February 24, 2004

FACTS ABOUT WATER – TEXAS

• Texas has almost as much surface water as the land of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota, which has some 4,790 square miles of surface water.

• Texas has 9 major aquifers and 11,247 named streams. – Texas Almanac & USGS.

• Texas’ surface water belongs to the state; its groundwater belongs to the landowner.

• Texas is the only state in the U.S. that has a “right to capture” law for its ground water.

• Texas law allows landowners to capture and sell any and all water found directly under their properties, even if that water comes from a shared resources and even if doing so poses a threat to the share supply.

• Although over 50% of the state of Texas is desert, water lies underneath 81% of the state. – Texas Almanac, p. 66

• About 60% of the water used yearly in Texas derives from underground formations. – Texas Almanac, p. 66

• Nearly 80% of the ground water produced in 2000 was used for irrigating crops. – – Texas Almanac, p. 66

• San Antonio is at the epicenter of Texas’ water crisis. – Environmental Attorney Jim Blackburn.

• In 20 years, Houston will be stretched beyond its current water supply.

• Ground water pumping has caused significant subsidence in the Houston-Galveston area.

• The increase of urban development, and with it, impervious cover, has contributed to Houston’s recent, catastrophic flooding.

• Galveston Bay produces more oysters than any single body of water in America.

• The Port of Houston Authority has created oyster reefs in Galveston Bay from channel dredge material.

• In 1990, Texas and California had the highest water withdrawals rates in the United States.

• The Rio Grande River now stops short of the Gulf of Mexico.

• “Water is a finite resource that requires careful and proactive management: the era of plentiful and inexpensive water in Texas is ending.” - Introduction to “An Assessment of Water Conservation in Texas, Prepared for the 78th Texas Legislature (2003), Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board & Texas Water Development Board.

• In a state where oil flows plentifully, now “water is indeed Texas’s most precious natural resource.” – Introduction to “An Assessment of Water Conservation in Texas, Prepared for the 78th Texas Legislature (2003), Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board & Texas Water Development Board.


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