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— a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation —

Water Markets

How Texas has historically chosen to manage water, be it surface water or groundwater, has hindered the ability of participants to arrive at a market valuation of the resource. Texas needs a well-functioning water market that allows participants to arrive at a true market value for water in order to meet Texas water needs as it responds to a growing population and economy, shifting patterns of use, and changing weather conditions.


  • Protect the seniority of water rights transferred between basins to keep Texans supplied with water.

Talking points for liberty fighters

  • The 2017 SWP estimates Texas will need an additional 8.9 million acre-feet of water a year until 2070 to meet demand under drought conditions.
  • Implementation of the water supply strategies in the 16 Regional Water Plans has an estimated capital cost of $62.6 billion.
  • Voluntary redistribution of existing water supply through water marketing is constrained by state and local district regulations.
  • Water management strategies could generate nearly 3.4 million acre-feet of additional supply per year by 2020, according to the SWP.
  • Surface water strategies in the SWP are estimated to produce 3.8 million acrefeet of additional supply per year, approximately 45% of the total recommended strategy supplies in 2070.
  • The 2017 SWP recommends construction of 26 new reservoirs, which would add 1.1 million acre-feet of new supply annually by 2070.