April 23


The needs of the many v. the rule of capture

In the 1890s, reacting to the dwindling flows of the San Antonio River during a long drought, George Brackenridge wrote:

“This river is my child, and it is dying and I cannot stay to see its last gasps.  It is probably caused by the sinking of many artesian wells.  I have paid thousands of dollars for legal opinions on the question of stopping boring of the wells, but they all say I have no remedy — and I must go.”

Brackenridge had been at the forefront of this wave of well drilling, which he had seen as the only way to guarantee a healthy water supply for the city, given the wild fluctuations in natural spring flows. But seeing the monster he had created, he sold his land, which included the headwaters of the river, to the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.

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