oer eltetal Resposes to the
Chlalkes of Water Resources
JOHN T. THOMPSON
MUCH OF THE HISTORY OF TEXAS HAS REVOLVED AROUND
water (or the lack of water), which has been a major
force in shaping the state's government, laws, and insti-
tutions. Those in turn have influenced the character of water util-
ization and development in the state. This study is an attempt to
trace the story of water conservation and development in the
state-what the state has done, and how it has accomplished
The problem of transportation was one of the earliest and most
persistent facing Texas. Every fledgling civilization has an acute
problem of transportation, but the land of Texas offered more
problems than most. Repeated efforts by the early Spanish settlers
to settle and develop the area failed, at least in part, because
of the lack of water and because of the vast distances involved.
Transportation continued to be a most pressing problem after
the yoke of Spain had been thrown off. The Mexican congress, in
an attempt to develop transportation, granted concessions to
various individuals to ply steamboats on the rivers of Texas. The
new Texas republic also followed that plan. In 1837, several pri-
vate companies were incorporated and given concessions to clear
rivers of obstructions to navigation. The companies were to re-
ceive, in return, the right to levy tolls. Despite the failure of
many of those companies, the 1840's saw the granting of more
charters to private companies to undertake that function."
'Harold Hoffsommer (ed.), The Social and Economic Significance of Land Tenure
in the Southwestern States; A Report of the Regional Land Tenure Research Project
(Chapel Hill, 1950), 37-38.
"Robert B. Bristow, Internal Improvements in Texas, 1836-1845 (Master's thesis,
University of Texas, 1936), 68-77.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/. Accessed July 10, 2014.