Texas faces a number of issues in an attempt to balance the water needs of a growing population while at the same time trying to conserve its water resources. Some of these issues include infrastructure improvements and provision of new supplies, changing patterns of use, water marketing and aquifer depletion. With aquifers providing 60% of all the water used in Texas, protecting and keeping these sources viable in the future is a key priority in addressing the state's water issues. With the state's emphasis on local control and the existence of between 80 and 90 groundwater districts state-wide, this research seeks to answer the question “Do groundwater districts in the State of Texas make a difference in groundwater depletion?” We use panel data from a set of 8,110 observations in a fixed effects regression to help us answer this question. We find evidence to suggest that groundwater districts do make a difference. After taking into consideration a couple of potential threats to validity, we run our model on a per district basis and by groundwater management areas. We also run it on a per aquifer basis and compare results with recommendations in the 2007 Texas Water Plan as a reality check. If we successfully answer the question that districts do in fact matter, the next logical step is to investigate what it is that districts do that makes a difference.

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