- Allocation of water in Texas evolved historically over several centuries into an essentially unmanageable system. Water management has progressed significantly in recent years with the transition of riparian rights to a surface-water permit system. Although the law of the biggest pump still governs, pressure for ground-water regulation continues to intensify. Water rights have become a major consideration in water-resources development and management in the state. This paper describes the Texas experience in allocating water resources among many competing users. The evolution of the water-rights system is outlined, and key issues remaining to be resolved are noted. The strategies adopted and the complexities encountered in Texas are representative of other states as well. ASCE.