Sharing the Common Pool
Water Rights in the Everyday Lives of Texans
Agriculture
6 x 9, 240 pp.
40 color illus. 10 maps. 5 figs. Table. 3 appendixes. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 05/15/2014
River Books, Sponsored by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas State University
  flexbound (with flaps)
Price:        $24.95

978-1-62349-137-6
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Sharing the Common Pool

Water Rights in the Everyday Lives of Texans

Charles R. Porter
Foreword by Andrew Sansom

If all the people, municipalities, agencies, businesses, power plants, and other entities that think they have a right to the water in Texas actually tried to exercise those rights, there would not be enough water to satisfy all claims, no matter how legitimate. In Sharing the Common Pool: Water Rights in the Everyday Lives of Texans, water rights expert Charles Porter explains in the simplest possible terms who has rights to the water in Texas, who determines who has those rights, and who benefits or suffers because of it.

The origins of Texas water law, which contains elements of the state’s Spanish, English, and Republic heritages, contributed to the development of a system that defines water by where it sits, flows, or falls and assigns its ownership accordingly. Over time, this seemingly logical, even workable, set of expectations has evolved into a tortuous collection of laws, permits, and governing authorities under the onslaught of population growth and competing interests—agriculture, industry, cities—all with insatiable thirsts.

In sections that cover ownership, use, regulation, real estate, and policy, Porter lays out in as straightforward a fashion as possible just how we manage (and mismanage) water in this state, what legal cases have guided the debate, and where the future might take us as old rivalries, new demands, and innovative technologies—such as hydraulic fracturing of oil shale formations (“fracking”)—help redefine water policy.

To learn more about The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, sponsors of this book's series, please click here.

CHARLES R. PORTER is an assistant professor of history at St. Edward’s University in Austin and a licensed real estate agent and broker. He has been a presenter and panel moderator for the Texas legislature, at the Texas Groundwater Summit, and at a joint conference of the Texas Rural Water Association and Texas Water Conservation Association.

What Readers Are Saying:

"Charles Porter has given us an invaluable informative work, an 'everyman's' primer on Texas water rights. Porter has done an excellent job not only in examining every facet of Texas water law, but also of raising issues of future water use in a drought prone state."—Panhandle Plains Historical Review

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