Texas Supreme Court: Landowners Own the Water Beneath Their Land

In a ruling likely to have an enormous effect on how Texas regulates water use, the state Supreme Court declared Friday that landowners also own the water beneath their land and may seek compensation if government regulations limit their access to it.

Water experts predicted the decision will lead to a surge in lawsuits from property owners who are denied pumping rights or are issued permits limiting the amount of water they may draw from wells.

And though the full effect of the ruling won’t be known for months, or perhaps years, the decision could leave the state’s 96 groundwater districts in a pickle — allocating a finite resource by issuing permits that could expose them to costly lawsuits and large monetary judgments, the experts said.

Source: Austin American Statesman