Texas Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Groundwater Rights (Posted By Gary Cutrer)
FORT WORTH, TEXAS – The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) today [Feb 24] applauded the opinion of the Texas Supreme Court in the Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Burrell Day and Joel McDaniel case regarding whether or not landowners own the groundwater below their land.
“The Texas Supreme Court has affirmed that landowners own the groundwater in place below their land and that it is subject to constitutional protection as a property right,” said Joe Parker Jr, rancher and president of TSCRA.
“This opinion is a victory for Texas landowners and will be important for generations to come. It also recognizes the important legislation, S.B. 332, that was passed by the Legislature in 2011” Parker said.
“TSCRA would like to thank the Texas Supreme Court for their diligent efforts in writing this opinion,” Parker continued.
In the opinion, the Texas Supreme Court states:
“…we held long ago that oil and gas are owned in place, and we find no reason to treat groundwater differently.”
“…last year, the Legislature amended section 36.002 [S.B. 332], to set out its fuller understanding of the matter…By ownership of groundwater as real property, the Legislature appears to mean ownership in place.”
“Groundwater rights are property rights subject to constitutional protection, whatever difficulties may lie in determining adequate compensation for a taking.”
“Today we have decided that landowners do have a constitutionally compensable interest in groundwater…”
TSCRA is a 135 year-old trade association and is the largest and oldest livestock organization based in Texas. TSCRA has over 15,000 beef cattle operations, ranching families and businesses as members. These members represent approximately 50,000 individuals directly involved in ranching and beef production who manage 4 million head of cattle on 76 million acres of range and pasture land primarily in Texas and Oklahoma, but throughout the Southwest.