TWA Applauds Texas Supreme Court Ruling in Support of Property Rights
The Texas Wildlife Association applauds today's unanimous ruling by the Texas Supreme Court that landowners have an ownership interest in water beneath their land and may be compensated if regulations limit their access to it.
The legal dispute involves a ranch owner who sued when the Edwards Aquifer Authority issued a permit that limited the amount of underground water that could be used. TWA strongly supported the landowner's position in an amicus brief to the Texas Supreme Court.
"The ruling re-affirms the principle that the landowner owns the groundwater below the landowner's land as real property. This is a critical principle going forward as private land stewards conserve the natural resources of our state for all Texans. The ruling is a significant victory for all Texas property owners," said TWA President Glen Webb of Abilene.
The unanimous opinion, written by Justice Nathan Hecht, noted regulation of underground water is essential to conserve a limited resource that provides 60 percent of all water used by Texans. Even so, the state Constitution's takings clause, which says no property can be taken for public use without adequate compensation, applies to underground water, Hecht wrote.