Water Scarcity Solutions Addressed at Law School Presentation

April 25, 2014

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Texans are “brave, courageous and different,” and could be influential in national water management discussions, according to Professor Mike Young of Adelaide, Australia. Young was the keynote speaker at a luncheon hosted at Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth April 25, sponsored by Water Asset Management, LLC.

Mike YoungYoung holds a Research Chair in Water and Environmental Policy at the University of Adelaide, and for the past academic year, served as the Gough Whitlam and Malcom Fraser Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard University.  

He spoke on Australia’s response to severe water scarcity in his presentation “Is Texas Missing an Opportunity? Lessons From Australia.” The presentation was part of the School of Law’s Water Lecture Series: Perspectives on Law and Policy. Young gave a related presentation April 28 at Texas A&M University in College Station entitled “Allocating and Sharing Water: Lessons From Australia.”

Young described the water entitlement and allocation regime in Australia as akin to holding shares in a corporation. Like shares, water entitlements can be traded within basins and a regulated market helps determine best uses. Moreover, the environment is an equal participant in the Australian system and similarly is allotted shares that are used as deemed appropriate by environmental managers. Young encouraged Texas to understand its water scarcity situation and learn how water can be an investment leading to community prosperity.

“Water is so critical to so many Texas businesses. If you get it right, people will come here and prosper,” Young said.

As part of the School of Law and Texas A&M University Water Management and Hydrological Sciences Program’s pursuit of a better water future, this joint series is intended to increase awareness of water challenges facing our state, explore similar challenges plaguing other communities and nations and consider various water management, allocation and conservation strategies from around the world.

Gabriel Eckstein headshotTexas A&M professor of law Gabriel Eckstein, a noted water law and policy expert and director of the International Water Law Project, explained that by 2060, population growth in Texas is expected to increase 80 to 90 percent, but that the state’s water resource availability is projected to decline 15 to 20 percent. He and other researchers at Texas A&M University in College Station, including professor Ronald Kaiser, Chair of the Texas A&M University Water Management and Hydrological Sciences Program, are committed to being part of the discussion of how Texas could meet the water demand as the population grows.

View a video of the presentation at the law school in Fort Worth. The next event in the series is planned for Nov. 18 and 19, 2014.

To subscribe to Young’s “Water Droplets” e-newsletter, visit www.myoung.net.au.

Water Law presentationKeynote presenter Professor Mike Young and Texas A&M professor of law Gabriel Eckstein pose with executives from Water Asset Management, LLC, (lunch sponsor) and Water Property Investors, LP. L-R: Disque D. Deane, Jr., Matthew J. Diserio, Marc Robert, Mike Young, Gabriel Eckstein, and Lynn Sherman.

- Article contributed by Daniella Wiedel. Photos by Christy Cleger.