Texas A&M Journal of Property Law Spring 2017 Symposium: “New Water”

Friday, February 17, 2017
8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Texas A&M University School of Law
Fort Worth, TX

Water supply is constrained. To quench the thirst of ever growing urban areas, agriculture and the environment, new water is needed. Traditional engineering solutions, like dams, that smooth supply across the year are no longer available or sufficient. Water innovation, including rainwater harvesting, brackish aquifers, reuse and cloud seeding, presents legal issues that have not been contemplated when existing regulations were enacted or to which existing regulations do not give a satisfactory answer. This symposium will aim to bring together scholars from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives interested in advancing research on issues surrounding “new water” and sketch the best regulatory and policy options to give answers to these new water supplies and encourage water resilience.

7 CLE credits available.



8:30 - 9:00 a.m.:  Registration and Breakfast

9:00 - 9:15 a.m.:  Opening Remarks

9:15 - 10:00 a.m.:  Morning Keynote:  Kathleen Jackson
Challenges that Texas faces to meet future water demand
10:00 - 11:00 a.m.:  Panel on Rainwater Harvesting
Rainwater harvesting at the household level or in rainwater gardens can contribute sustainable water supply for generations to come. Texas passed legislation in 2005 on this issue and in every session since then has been a topic of discussion. Current innovative techniques, regulatory options from required installation to guidelines, and the current status of rainwater capture projects in Texas.

11:00 - 11:15 a.m.:  Break

11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.:  Panel on Brackish Aquifers and Reuse
As water becomes scarce, sources previously discarded because of their cost become desirable. That is the case of aquifers previously deemed unusable because they have high levels of dissolved solids and salinity issues. Each region in Texas has brackish groundwater and tapping that resource could be a great source to quench future demands. Similarly, direct or indirect reuse projects that clean water already used by urban areas are already in place. Given that obtaining new supplies has become very expensive, more of these projects are expected to be implemented. A discussion on to whom these return flows belong to and what water quality should be achieved is incredibly timely.


12:30 - 2:00 p.m.:  Luncheon & Keynote: Richard Seline
Address regulatory and rulemaking, operational, economic, and perceived hurdles that minimize private, entrepreneurial, and inventive water solutions.

2:00 - 3:00 p.m.:  Panel on controversial new sources of water
This panel will discuss methods of obtaining extra water supplies that are not yet fully establish and still controversial: cloud seeding and tree and plant removal. Weather modification and forest thinning and plant removal are still questioned about whether they provide real savings or their fairness.

3:00 - 3:45 p.m.:  Roundtable discussion with all the speakers

3:45 - 4:00 p.m.:  Closing Remarks: Rikki Blassingame, Editor-in-Chief Texas A&M Property Law Journal


Confirmed Speakers

Professor Stephen Bretsen, Wheaton College
Professor Rhett Larson, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
Ms. Dotty Woodson, Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center
Mr. Calvin Trey Scott, US Trust, Bank of America
Mr. Richard Seline, Accelerate H2O
Mr. Aaron Wendt, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board
Mr. Howard Slobodin, Trinity River Authority of Texas
Mr. Gary Walker, Cloud Seeding Operations and Atmospheric Research (SOAR)
Mr. Tom Taggart, City of San Marcos, Executive Director of Public Services
Ms. Kathleen Jackson, Texas Water Development Board, Board Member


Symposium Committee

Rikki Blassingame, Editor-in-Chief
W. Chase Payne, Managing Editor
Kyle Millsap, Business Editor
Stephanie Bradley Fryer, Executive Editor
Rachelle Miller, Symposia Editor
Vanessa Casado Perez, Symposium Chair
Saurabh Vishnubhakat, Faculty Advisor