The Endangered Springflow Act: How the Endangered Species Act Influences Groundwater Law and Protects Springflow in Texas




Puig-Williams, Vanessa

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The Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration, and Environmental Law


Many springs in Texas are in danger of drying up as two contradictory forces – drought and development – collide. As groundwater from an aquifer is pumped for irrigation, municipal, or industrial use, the water level in the aquifer is lowered and the result is decreased flow from springs at the surface. The lack of recharge to the aquifer caused by drought exacerbates the decline in groundwater levels and diminished springflow. Reductions in springflow are problematic because springs sustain numerous creeks and rivers, especially during drought when surface runoff from rainfall is low. As springflow decreases, so does the flow of surface water, degrading aquatic habitats, threatening consumptive uses of water, interfering with recreational activities, and harming water quality. While the Texas State Water Plan indicates that water management strategies will focus on surface water in the future, reliance on groundwater supplies, including brackish sources, to support population growth, agriculture, and a booming oil and gas industry will continue.


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