SMU Science and Technology Law Review


Around the world freshwater is increasingly scarce, and Texas is no different. Texas continuously operates at a shortage, where freshwater supply cannot meet demand. Projections show that this deficit will increase over the next decade, which would cause billions of dollars in losses for the Texas economy. But Texas is in a unique position to correct its water problems and take corrective measures to avoid such losses. Innovations around hydraulic fracturing in the oil and gas industry, namely recyclable “produced water” and the burgeoning “water midstream” sector will play an important role in remediating Texas’ freshwater scarcity concern. Furthermore, the technological advancements in recyclable produced water, combined with an effective business model and operational infrastructure of the water midstream sector, would generate a consistent source of freshwater for industrial, manufacturing, and agricultural uses that will mitigate the strain on natural freshwater sources.

Private actors continue to fund and build facilities to gather, recycle, and distribute produced water; but there are barriers to expansion of these systems. While the private sector has a foundational blueprint to utilize recyclable produced water, there are business, legal, environmental, and regulatory concerns that must be addressed by the Texas government to pioneer a sustainable water future that will greatly benefit Texas’s economy and residents. The Texas government must adopt a proactive approach to this unique freshwater source and develop new water management systems.



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