Water Grand Challenges: Groundwater - Surface Water Interactions
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In Texas, groundwater and surface water are treated differently with regard to regulatory policy. Surface water is owned by the state and is appropriated through a permit system based on prior appropriation; on the other hand, groundwater is owned by the private landowner and is based on rule of capture. Treating these two water entities as separate based on geographic location has been the traditional approach in Texas despite an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the interactions between surface and groundwater. These two water sources are directly related to one another, pumping and utilizing groundwater affects the levels and flow of surface water, likewise, removal of surface water reduces the overall groundwater levels. This hydrological link is affected at different rates depending upon the geological conditions of the area. The following will discuss this cyclical pattern as it pertains to the specific environmental circumstances in Texas.