With an exploding population and a dwindling surface water supply that is increasingly out of reach, Texans are counting on water below the ground to fuel the state's economic growth. But they face significant challenges, examined in this series on the state's thirst for underground water.
There are an estimated 880 trillion gallons of brackish water underneath the state's surface. But using the salty resource can be tricky: Treating it carries a hefty price tag, and the oversight of its withdrawal isn't clear-cut.
Groundwater doesn't flow according to the state's political boundaries. Yet it's regulated largely along county lines, a decades-old system that is facing increased criticism among some of those fighting for more access to the resource.
As the drought continues and farmers struggle to keep their crops irrigated, many are probing beneath their land for water. But when water is such a precious commodity, procuring it is not ever simple.