Our Water, Our Future: A Review of Texas Water Policy

Released by: Environment Texas

Water scarcity is a worldwide issue and will affect an increasing number of people as the world population grows from the current 6 billion to 9 billion by mid-century. U.N. studies indicate that 2.7 billion people will face severe water shortages by 2025 if consumption continues at current rates. [1] Not only sheer population growth but also urbanization will strain water resources.  While historically more people have lived in the countryside than cities, that trend has been changing, and by 2020, urban dwellers will outnumber their rural counterparts. [2] As a result of this population density, municipalities will have increasing difficulty providing sufficient amounts of water to their residents.

Texas’s situation mirrors that of the world at large. Its population is expected to nearly double by mid-century, from 20.8 million in 2000 to 39.6 million in 2050. More and more people are moving to the cities. Urban and rural centers will clash over allocation of water resources; in fact the growing urban demand for water will be one of the greatest challenges facing Texas in the future. [3] The future living standard for Texans, particularly those in the arid western part of the state, will depend largely on the availability and affordability of water. 

[1] Fen Montaigne, “Water Pressure” National Geographic September 2002 p. 9.

[2] United Nations, U.N. International Year of Freshwater, Water for our future: What are the trends?, at http://www.wateryear 2003.org/en/ev (last visited April 1, 2004).

[3] Matt Beeter, “Texas Water Law Textbook Supplement” prepared for Professor Torres. Fall 2002.